Fewer than half of children in Sweden have been baptised by the Church of Sweden in recent years with analysts claiming that the dramatic drop is connected to the government’s mass migration policies.
In 2000, around 73 per cent of Swedish children were baptised into the Church of Sweden, but as of 2017, that number has fallen significantly to a record-low 43 per cent, Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Radio reports.
Pernilla Jonsson, analyst manager of the Swedish Church, commented on the new report saying: “In 2000, 73 percent of Swedes were born as baptised, afterwards it had crept down. In 2010, we had just over half of the children born as baptised, and now we are down to just over 42 per cent.”
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Jonsson claimed the driving force for the trend was mass migration, saying: “It is primarily demographic changes that a larger proportion of the born children today are born to foreign-born parents who are not members of the church in Sweden, and may not be connected to the Church of Sweden.”
Jonsson added that since 1996, parents had to request baptism rather than children be automatically baptised and that many Swedish parents simply did not choose to have their children baptised.
The rates of baptism are the lowest in Stockholm, which contains the heavily migrant populated no-go suburbs of Rinkeby, Husby, Tensta and others, at only 32 per cent.
Norrbotten County, Sweden’s northernmost county, had the highest rate with 62 per cent of children being baptised into the church.
“Major cities and commuter municipalities in the vicinity of a big city are where we have a significantly lower baptism rate than in the rest of the country,” Jonsson said.
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The report is just the latest blow for the Church of Sweden which, according to a report last month, is set to lose well over a million members in the next ten years.
The trend also highlights the impact of mass migration in Sweden which is the main driver of population growth in the country. Mass migration has also forced the government to consider raising the retirement age to pay for the added strain on the country’s social services and others have predicted that municipalities will be forced to raise taxes, as well.