Welcome to the Swiss Metadatabase of Religious Affiliation in Europe (SMRE)

Religious Affiliation in Europe – an Empirical Problem

The role of religion in European societies has become a prominent topic of academic and public debate. In the context of contemporary European societies questions concerning religion figure large when it comes to identities and social integration. The role of the different Christian traditions, the degree of secularization and the status of more recently immigrated religious minorities, especially of Muslims, are contested. Consequently, statistics on religious affiliation are frequently used (or mis-used) as political arguments. Data on religious affiliation are regularly brought forward in debates about the strength, predominance and acceptance of various religious groups.

Despite the growing importance of this statistical information, social science research has thus far paid little attention to the question of religious affiliation and its precise measurement. In fact, social scientists (as well as politicians) use figures on religious affiliation which, to the surprise of an empirically minded researcher, vary greatly. Moreover, for Europe as a whole as for important European countries such as France and Great Britain it is currently impossible to give reliable figures on the religious affiliation of its population.

The Swiss Metadatabase of Religious Affiliation in Europe (SMRE) has been set up to improve this situation. In the first phase (2011-2014) data from a wide range of sources have been collected by SMRE team. The second phase of the project (2015-2018) is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The project aims to substantially improve the data-situation. It will provide detailed statistics and consolidated "best data" on religious affiliation for European countries and regions including the EU. It involves a broad joint international research effort of doing crowd research. For this purpose this newly designed, interactive online web-application has been set up. The SMRE metadatabase follows an open data approach. Its use is free of charge.

A short description of the project, the new SMRE web-application and forthcoming events you will find in our SMRE Flyer.