The place of religion in the lives of people residing in France is often the subject of untruths in the public debate. Hence the interest of the INSEE study on religious diversity in France published this Thursday, especially since the issue rarely dealt with by public statistics. According to this, Catholicism remains the first religion declared in our country in 2019-2020 claimed by 29% of 18 to 59 year olds, followed by Islam 10%. The proportion of people declaring themselves to be of another Protestant or Orthodox Christian religion reaches 9%. However, 51% of people living in France say they are without religion whereas they were only 45% ten years ago.
Only 8% of Catholics visit the Church regularly
But who says believer, does not necessarily say regular practitioner. Respect for dogma indeed differs a lot from one religion to another. According to the INSEE, 8% of Catholics regularly visit the Church, compared to 22% of other Protestant Orthodox Christians. Among Catholics, religious holidays, apart from Christmas and Easter, have lost their unifying role, observes Patrick Simon. Catholic immigrants are almost an exception: 55% of immigrants from Central Africa regularly attend mass.
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Attendance at a place of worship is much more intense among Jews, 34% of whom often go to the synagogue, Muslims and Buddhists, who are respectively 20% to go to a mosque or temple. We observe that there is no automaticity in the fact of attending a place of worship and even that there is a growing privatization of religious practice, emphasizes Patrick Simon. The collective practices of salvation religions are collapsing in favor of individual identity religions.
Transmission, a family affair
And if one was raised in a believing family, it is not for that reason that one will claim the religion of his elders. Admittedly, 91% of people raised in a Muslim family married the religion of their parents. This transmission is also very strong among Jews (84%). But Christian families transmit their religion less: 67% of people raised by Catholic parents and 69% by parents of other Christian denominations claim the same religion. “Levels of transmission are much lower when both parents have different religions: 57% of people who grew up in a mixed family do not take the religion of one of their parents,” says Simon. Exciting data to understand how our country is evolving.