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Finnish non-believers now number over 1m

More than a million Finns do not have any declared religious affiliation, according to Statistics Finland. The one million mark was passed last year, with the number of unaffiliated people doubling in the last two decades.

Joensuun evankelisluterilaisen kirkon sali.
Image: YLE / Heikki Haapalainen

Finnish women are more likely to be part of a registered religious group than Finnish men. Just 16 percent are unaffiliated, compared with 22 percent of men.

There are strong regional differences in the figures. The most religious part of the country is South Ostrobothnia, where just nine percent of people are not registered with any religious group. In the southern province of Uusimaa, on the other hand, 27 percent of people do not belong to a congregation.

Among Uusimaa’s 25-34-year-olds religious affiliation was even less common, with a rate of 42 percent. Those who live in Finland and speak a different language are also officially quite irreligious, with just 18 percent belonging to a registered religious congregation.

At the end of last year, 78 percent of people resident in Finland were part of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, and one percent belonged to the Finnish Orthodox Church.

The two official state religions in Finland have suffered in recent years from resignations since it became possible to resign from the church online. The drop in numbers has caused a dip in church funds, which are boosted by an additional tax of between one and 2.25 percent.

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