Latest Statistics from Austria Show 4.83 Million Catholics with a Slight Decline from Last Year and Slight Financial Increases
Bishops Conference of Austria Release: 72,055 people left the Catholic Church last year - the total number of Catholics in Austria is 4.83 million.
The number of Catholics in Austria fell slightly again last year, but remained largely stable. This is the result of the statistics published by the Austrian dioceses on Wednesday. Accordingly, as of December 31, 2021, there were 4.83 million Catholics in Austria. In 2020, according to official statistics from the Austrian Bishops' Conference, there were 4.91 million Catholics. This corresponds to a decrease of around 1.6 percent. One reason for this is the increased number of people leaving the church in the past year. Together with the provisional Catholic numbers, the official church statistics for 2020 with details on church life in Austria were published on Wednesday.
A total of 72,055 people left the Catholic Church in 2021. In 2020 there were 58,727 people, which was a significant decrease compared to 2019 (67,794 departures). Obviously, quite a few people are likely to have made up for the exit after the first year of the pandemic in 2020, communication with the state authorities was often only possible to a limited extent.
The number of people leaving the church in 2021 was slightly higher than in 2019 (67,794), 58,807 Catholics left the church in 2018, 53,698 in 2017, 54,969 in 2016 and 56,599 in 2015. In 2010 the church had to record 85,960 resignations - a historic high - which at that time was largely due to the discovery of cases of abuse in the church sector.
As of December 31, 2021, 4,301 people were re-admitted or newly admitted to the church. That is more than 2020 with 4,068. (2019: 4,898; 2018: 5,261; 2017: 5,461; 2016: 5,269; 2015: 5,064)
545 people - and thus more than 2020 (461) - also made use of their right of revocation in 2021. This refers to people who initially declared their exit, but after contacting church officials and within a three-month period, refrained from taking this step. In 2019 the Church recorded 637 revocations, in 2018 there were 565. In 2017, 562 people made use of their right of revocation, in 2016 there were 518 and in 2015 602.
The figures for 2020 are preliminary figures. Smaller corrections - especially for new or re-entries - are still to be expected, as the data for the last months of the previous year are not yet fully available in all dioceses. Experience has shown that the number of church admissions (admissions and re-admissions) and revocations will increase slightly.
To the number of people who join the Catholic Church of their own free will, there must also be added those who are baptized in adulthood (from the age of 14). There is still no data for 2021. The number of official statistics for 2020 shows 417 baptisms; In 2019 there were 540 baptisms, in 2018 650 baptisms, 2017 890, 2016 433, 2015 323.
The Catholic dioceses in Austria recorded slight increases in church fees for 2020 and an almost balanced balance overall. This emerges from the Austria-wide church conduct overview, which was published on Wednesday. The majority of the dioceses' income comes from the church contribution. In 2020 it was just under 484 million euros (75 percent of total income), in 2019 the church contributions were around 481 million euros. Two thirds of the budget ensure the basic church structure and pastoral care. According to the annual report, a total of over 421 million euros were spent on the parishes and pastoral tasks, which corresponds to around 65 percent of the total expenditure.
The figures agreed under the ten Catholic dioceses contain, in addition to a management overview, an accountability report, which allows an insight into income and expenses. Overall, the dioceses recorded a total income of over 643 million euros in 2020 (2019: 637 million). This is offset by expenses of around 644 million euros (2019: 641 million). Due to a positive financial result, the management overview of the dioceses shows an overall positive result from ordinary business activities (EGT) of around 16 million euros (2019: 16 million) and a total budget of 660 million euros (2019: 657 million).
The most important source of income for the dioceses is the church contribution with 483.7 million euros and a share of 75.2 percent of revenues and earnings. The state benefits to compensate for Nazi damage make up around 55.3 million euros and thus 8.6 percent of the income. The remaining 104 million euros and thus 16.2 percent of the income come from asset management, rentals, services, subsidies and other income.
The majority of the expenditures with more than 404 million euros (2019: 397 million) are accounted for by personnel costs (around 63 percent) for the 8,150 employees (priests and lay people) in the diocesan service. This position corresponds to the majority of the funds that are used for pastoral and parish tasks. The personnel expenses for lay employees are higher than for the clergy and amount to over 236 million euros (2019: 234 million) or 37 percent of the expenses. The clergy account for around 102 million euros (2019: 102 million) in personnel costs and 66 million euros for pensions (2019: 61 million), which together make up 26 percent of expenses.
The construction and maintenance costs in 2020 were almost 40 million euros (2019: 39 million), which corresponds to 6 percent of total expenditure. The remaining material expenses include grants for parishes and other church bodies, costs for maintenance, material and energy as well as other expenses and made up over 200 million euros (2019: 205 million) or 31 percent.