The New Believers

The religious landscape of Catalonia has undergone a remarkable change due to the increase of immigrants. Many oratories or churches have parishioners from other parts of the world, but how much do migration flows influence the religious reality of the host territory?

By Gemma Pallàs


The minority religions of Catalonia

Although Catalonia is a country with a strong Catholic tradition and a more recent predominant secular / non-religious present, the religious map of Catalonia has been transformed giving visibility to new religious minorities in recent decades.

In many cases the presence of minorities in Catalonia dates back to last century, but it has been in the last ten years that the religious communities have experienced a notable growth, accompanied at the same time by a significant increase in the number of worship places distributed throughout the territory.

In the present Catalan society there are more than twelve religious minorities, but the six shown here are the most dominant.

time evolution

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Type of religious centre

Source: Generalitat de Catalunya


Where are the immigrants from?

The arrival of immigrants is one of the factors of the strongest growth of religious minorities. The communities have seen the arrival of new believers as an opportunity to develop and become visible in the Catalan social sphere.

There are many cases in which migration flows have redrawn the religious map of the region which has hosted them, filling different areas with a cultural and a religious diversity that was unknown to date.

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A decade in numbers

Although all communities have grown significantly over the last decade, the economic crisis and the consequent decrease of migration flows have led to a decrease in the tendency of creating new places of worship in recent years.

Some denominations have seen how their number of followers has been reduced by the immigrants returning to their countries of origin, others have had to restructure themselves due to economic reasons, but all of them have suffered the effects of the recession in some way or another.

Evolution of religious centres: Catalonia

Evolution of immigration: Catalonia

Sources: Generalitat de Catalunya, IDESCAT


Religious communities in Catalonia

While the religious diversity that exists in Catalonia is closely linked to the arrival of immigration over the last decade, the fact is that each minority has developed in a particular way.

In some cases, religious communities have become shelters for immigrants (organizing themselves according to the geographical origin, for example), in others they have become platforms to promote intercultural exchanges between Catalans and newcomers. But what is true is that the Catalan reality has changed and the place of religious minorities in the management model of secularism is a future challenge for the society.

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  • Evangelist
  • Buddhist
  • Islamic
  • Hindu
  • Jehova's Witnesses
  • Orthodox