The country has an area of 150,000 square miles and a population of 4.75 million. Citizens are considered to be members of the state church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway, unless they explicitly state otherwise. For example, citizens may elect to associate themselves with another denomination, nonreligious organization (e.g., the Norwegian Humanist Association), or to have no religious affiliation at all. An estimated 82 percent of the population (3.9 million persons) nominally belongs to the state church. However, actual church attendance is quite low.
Other religious groups operate freely and include various Protestant Christian denominations (166,000 registered members), Muslims (84,000), Roman Catholics (54,000), and Jews (850). Buddhists, Orthodox Christians, Sikhs, and Hindus are also present in small numbers, together constituting less than 1 percent of the population. The Norwegian Humanist Association--the largest national organization for those who do not formally practice any religion, including atheists--has 79,870 registered members. An unknown number of persons belong to religious institutions but do not formally register with the Government, so they are not reflected in the statistics.
The majority of European and American immigrants, who make up approximately 45 percent of the foreign-born population, are either Christian or nonreligious, with the exception of Muslim refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. Most non-Western immigrants practice Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, or Hinduism. Of religious minority members, 55 percent are concentrated in the Oslo metropolitan area, including 57 percent of Muslims and most of the Buddhist community.