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Number of atheists, non-believers increases in Spain

Last Updated: Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 12:40

Madrid: The number of non-believers and atheists has grown significantly in Spain during the last decade while the percentage of Catholics has come down by 10 percent, a government survey has said.

At present, 13.6 percent of the people said they were "non-believers" while 7.7 percent identified themselves as atheists, a survey released on Wednesday by the Sociological Research Centre said.

The survey said 75 percent Spaniards define themselves as Catholics, down from nearly 85 percent a decade ago.

Five years ago, 79 percent of the people said they were Catholics and in the year 2000, 84.7 percent defined themselves in that way.

The survey was conducted in March among about 2,500 interviewees.

Around 1.6 percent of those surveyed said they practised some other religion.

The survey also asked respondents about the frequency with which they attend religious services apart from ceremonies that could be considered social, like weddings or funerals.

The majority, 58.6 percent, acknowledged that they "almost never" attend religious services whereas it was 47 percent in 2005 and just over 40 percent a decade ago.

About 15 percent said they attend religious services almost every Sunday, a figure that has been declining progressively over the past decade.

Five years ago, 17 percent of those surveyed said they attended religious services regularly and a decade ago 21 percent had said that was the case.


First Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 12:40
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