Austria: fewer Catholics, more tax revenues

According to data as of December 31, 2021, there are 4.83 million Catholics in Austria, in 2020 there were 4.91 million. So this is a decrease of about 1.6 percent. One of the reasons for this is the increased number of withdrawals from the Church in the last year.

In total, 72,055 people left the Catholic Church in 2021. In 2020, it was 58 727 people, which was then a significant decrease compared to 2019 (67 794 instances). The Austrian Catholic agency Kathpress explains this growth by the fact that in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, communication with the authorities was often limited.

The highest number of withdrawals from the Church in Austria – 85,960 people – was recorded in 2010. This was largely due to information on cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

Along with provisional figures for Catholics, official church statistics for 2020 have also been published, providing detailed information on church life in Austria.

They note a slight decrease in the number of participants of the Holy Mass. and the number of priests and religious. Much less were administered the sacraments of baptism, marriage and First Holy Communion. and confirmation. Baptisms have dropped from 44,977 in 2019 to 32,521 today; similarly, the number of church marriages fell from 9,842 to 3,595 in 2020. Many of their dates had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. On the other hand, the number of church funerals has increased: in 2019 there were 51,334, and in 2020 – 54,621.

The number of diocesan priests in Austria decreased from 3,689 in 2019 to 3,548 in 2020. In 2015, there were still 3,944.

The network of parish communities in Austria remains stable. The statistics for 2019 showed 4,291 parishes and pastoral centers. In 2012, there were 4,324 of them.

The budgets of the ten Austrian dioceses were almost balanced in 2020, amounting to € 660 million. Church tax revenue (Kirchenbeitrag), accounting for 75 percent of of all church revenues increased from EUR 481 million in the previous year to less than EUR 484 million. The fact that church tax revenues have increased and the number of believers has decreased is due to the fact that the church contribution is calculated on the basis of the taxable annual income of Church members.

According to Kathpress, two-thirds of the budget covers the basic church structure and pastoral care. According to the billing report, a total of EUR 421 million was spent on parishes and pastoral tasks, or almost two-thirds of all expenses.

Austrian state benefits for compensation for damages caused by National Socialism amount to 55.3 million euros, which is 8.6 percent. Church income. The remaining EUR 104 million, or 16.2 percent. Income comes from asset management, rentals, benefits, grants, and other income. The Archdiocese of Vienna again had the largest budget in 2020, with revenues of € 138.8 million (2019: € ​​138 million).

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