Prof. Dr. Stjepan Baloban commented to IKA on the results of the 2011 population census of the Republic of Croatia: "In regard to religion, the census did not yield anything spectacular but in any case it is significant."
Zagreb, (IKA) – “Without detailed analysis, it can be concluded that with regard to religion, the 2011 population census in Croatia did not yield anything spectacular but in any case it is significant. In comparison to the 2001 census, there are a certain constant and trend,” said Prof. Stjepan Baloban, head of the Department of Social Sciences, Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Zagreb, in his statement to IKA.
“The constant refers to the fact that the number of Catholics has not significantly fallen, as anticipated by many, and not only the media unfavorable to the Catholic Church, politicians and some civil associations. Actually, Catholics make up 86.28% of the population or, as a percentage of the total inhabitants, 1.69% fewer than in 2001. It should be noted that just prior to and during the census, certain associations conducted an organized campaign to prevent the faithful from declaring themselves as Catholics or members of the Catholic Church, using “various negative elements and tricks” in regard to the lives of Church officials in Croatia. This constant also applies to Orthodox Christians and Protestants, so that there is a somewhat higher percentage of members of the Orthodox Church, 4.44%, i.e., 0.02% more than nine years ago, and 0.34% Protestants, i.e., 0.07% more than in 2001. Here it is also necessary to add Muslims, of whom there are 0.19% more than in 2011 or 1.47% in relation to the total inhabitants, as well as other Christians, of whom there are 0.06% more or 1.47% of the population,” said Prof. Stjepan Baloban.
“In Croatia, there is a downward trend among those who did not declare themselves as believers or who wrote “unknown” in the space for religious confession ten years ago. At the same time, there is an upward trend among those who in 2011 declared themselves as atheists and nonbelievers. There was the greatest increase in the number of those who declared themselves as atheists or nonbelievers (1.9%) as well as agnostics and skeptics (0.73%). There is also a rising trend among those who declare themselves as members of Eastern religions (from 0.02% to 0.06%) and members of other religions, movements and worldviews (from 0.01% to 0.06%).
The initial impression is that there have not been any significant changes in Croatia regarding religious confessions in comparison to the 2001 census, although there was a rising trend among those who declare themselves as atheists, nonbelievers or agnostics. A more thorough analysis might show from where they were recruited.
However, the fact that 86.28% of Croats and Croatian citizens declare themselves as Catholics, approximately 5% Orthodox and other Christians, and 1.47% Muslims must be taken into greater account by those political authorities and all others involved in public life who are increasingly adopting laws that are contrary to the values and religious convictions of over 92% of Croatian citizens,” concluded Prof. Dr. Stjepan Baloban, head of the Department of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Faculty of Catholic Theology, University of Zagreb, in his commentary on the results of the 2011 population census in the Republic of Croatia regarding declarations of religious confession.