Swedish church losing 1 million members by 2020

The Church of Sweden says it will lose 1 million members within 10 years.

A prognosis cited by the official church magazine Kyrkans Tidning said the Church of Sweden, as the nation’s dominant religious body, will have six million members in 2020 compared to the present seven million. The Church of Sweden (Evangelical Lutheran) was the official state church in Sweden until the link was formally severed in 2000.

The decline in membership is expected to be 1.2 per cent every year until 2020, the prognosis said. Loss of revenues would approach 1 billion kronor ($140 million) by 2020.

Kykans Tidning did not state the specific reasons for the steady decline. It is known that since 1996 newly-borns no longer become automatic members of the denomination, which was formally separated from the State in 2000.

The Church is mainly supported through the “church tax” incorporated in personal income taxation, and which is voluntary. Taxpayers can opt out.

The projections are not catastrophic, according to Church Planning Director Erika Brundin, but “the Church must prepare itself for the changes that are anticipated.” This includes inter-church coordination of activities such as baptisms and confirmations as a cost-saving mechanism.

“I believe the Church’s most marginalized period will be behind us after 2020, and that its relevance can increase,” said Brundin. “The number of religiously-inclined citizens should then rise, and the role of the Church in the lives of younger people can become more considerable.

“But I don’t think that means we’ll have more members.”

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Spotify to be muted in Swedish churches

Music played via streaming service Spotify will be banned in Sweden’s churches from April 1st.

Spotify to be muted in Swedish churches
Spotify's head office in Stockholm. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT

From the beginning of next month, anyone who plans to play music at a wedding, baptism or funeral will have to find an alternative source to the streaming option, radio station P4 Kristiansand reports.

The Swedish audio platform’s decision to end its Spotify Business service, which the Church of Sweden currently uses to play pre-recorded music, means other formats are likely to make a comeback.

“Subscriptions for the (Spotify) service will be cancelled and will no longer work. Private Spotify accounts, like you or I and many others have, are not, and never have been, permitted for use for playing music or songs in public places,” Lund Diocese lawyer Anders Eriksson told the radio station.

Those who want to play pre-recorded music in Swedish churches will, in future, have to bring their own CD or legally downloaded music, according to the report.

READ ALSO: The story of Spotify: Sweden's controversial king of music streaming