Secuarlization in Germany : Age, Cohort and Period Effects on Changing Patterns of Religiosity

Melissa Hardy, Pennsylvania State University
Marcin Stonawski, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and Cracow University of Economics

The role of religion in modern societies has been the focus of contentious debate, as researchers argue whether the importance of religion has faded, remained stable, or grown stronger. In this paper, we compile 40 years of German data to offer a demographic analysis of changes in religiosity through denominational affiliation. These analyses distinguish the relative contributions of age, period and birth cohort to the overall trend of increased secularization. All three components make significant contributions to the trend for western Germany. In contrast, analysis of 20 years of data for eastern Germany indicates that cohort differences in religiosity do not persist once age and period differences are taken into account. After decomposing the time trend, we discuss how population dynamics as well as political, social and economic factors contributed to declines in religious affiliation in Germany and the role of cohort replacement in this dimension of social change.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 2