Historical reconstruction of the forces shaping the religious composition of the population of Vienna from 1951 to 2001

Anne Goujon, Vienna Institute of Demography and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Ramon Bauer, Vienna Institute of Demography
Richard Gisser, Vienna Institute of Demography

Since 1970, the homogeneity in terms of the domination in the population of one religious group, the Roman Catholic Church, has been slowly fading away in Austria through two main forces: progressing secularization and immigration of people belonging to other religions (Goujon et al. 2007). This transformation is quite unique in the history of religions but common to most ‘modern’ societies. Moreover, migrant women have a higher number of children compared to native women, which is reinforcing the increase in religious pluralism due to migration. These phenomena lead to the diversification of the religious landscape in Austria and is exacerbated in the city of Vienna where both forces of secularization and migration are stronger than in any of the other Austrian federal provinces e.g. whereas from 1971 to 2001, the share of Roman Catholics decreased from 87 % to 74 % in the whole country, it changed from 78 % to 49 % in Vienna. If the different censuses in Austria since 1951 allow for the analysis of changes in the religious landscape of the population in terms of stocks, at detailed spatial level, the demographic forces in terms of flows have not yet been explored although most of the data can be reconstructed. The paper will describe the reconstruction exercise of the different forces that have been shaping the religious composition of the city, namely migration (international, national), mortality, fertility, and religious conversion from 1951 to 2001. This project is part of the WIREL project titled “Past, present and future religious prospects in Vienna 1950-2050" funded by the Vienna Science and Technology Fund WWTF under its "Diversity - Identity Call 2010".

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Presented in Poster Session 2

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