Sweden aims to ditch church parishes

Sweden aims to ditch church parishes
More than a decade after the Church of Sweden split from the state, the government wants to stop using church parish boundaries in population statistics, angering researchers who wish to retain the 500-year-old subdivisions.

Currently, people living in Sweden are registered (folkbokförd) according to their parishes (församlingar) – geographical areas determined more than five centuries ago by the Church of Sweden.

However, the government finally agreed on a proposal on Tuesday that would abandon the practice of registering Swedes according to their church parish after January 1st, 2016, according to the Riksdag & Department newspaper.

Instead, Swedish residents would be registered by their “district” – state picked areas that follow the boundaries of the parishes from when the church separated from the state in 2000.

The proposal comes after four years of deliberation by the government, which has struggled to assuage concerns of researchers upset by attempts to phase out the concept, arguing that parishes have been used in Sweden for more than 500 years and should be kept.

Even though the Church of Sweden was separated from the state 13 years ago, its parishes have remained in the government’s books.

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