Secular Hungary

Facts and Figures

In the 2001 census, out of 10,2 million people 5,558 million declared themselves catholic (of them, 5,289 are Roman Catholics and 270000 Greek Catholics), 1,6 million are Calvinists, 305 thousand Lutherans, and 12 thousand declared themselves Jewish (reminding them that the census had been used for their deportation in WWII, Jewish organisations urged their members not to answer). 1,48 million declared they had no religious affiliation. 1,035 million persons declined to answer (the question was not compulsory), and another 70 thousand data are unclear, so real percentages are hard to guess.
In 2004, a research organisation, Median, carried out a research on the question of religion. As it turned out, 90% of the population do not follow the teachings of one given church. 13% are affiliated with one of the bigger Christian churches, and more than half of the population is religious in their own way, but does not feel close to any particular denomination. 25% do not consider themselves religious in any way. Religious affiliation was not linked to political preferences.
28% of the population think that churches are entitled to influence private issues. Only 6% of the population would agree with a total abortion ban, and even less with a ban of contraception. 12% think that churches should influence politics, and 50% object to churches influencing both private life and politics.
The majority thinks that churches should be financed by their adherents.

Another indicator for assessing the strength of religious affiliation is income tax data. Taxpayers may decide on the use of 2 times 1% of their income tax. One 1% may be offered to any civil organisation, the second one only to a registered religious community (registration is formal, only) or the secular alternative offered by the state. As of 2010, 187 religious communities have registered with the tax office. In spite of the media campaigns by churches and NGOs, taxpayers are not very keen to decide on the use of their taxes: in 2009, of 4,64 million taxpayers, only 1,688 million gave 1% of their taxes to an NGO, and even less, 1,115 decided on the "second" 1%. Of these, 826533 (73%) opted for a church, and 298 thousand, i.e. 27% preferred the secular alternative (the concrete aim is decided on by the state, and there is hardly any media coverage).