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Trends of Religious Identification in Korea: Changes and Continuities

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Korea's religious context is not simple. According to the 2005 Korean Census, the Korean population consists of 23 percent Buddhists, 18 percent Protestants, and 11 percent Catholics, with 47 percent nonreligious. To accurately describe Korean religion in recent periods, we have used 1985, 1995, and 2005 Korean Censuses. We found that Korean people became more religious from 1985 to 1995, but that change was stalled from 1995 to 2005. The percentages of Buddhists and Protestants exhibited little change, and Buddhism continues to be an important religion in the lives of Koreans. Only the number of Catholics increased from 5 percent in 1985 to 11 percent in 2005, and the increasing percentage of Catholics occurred within all subgroups, regardless of age, gender, education, home ownership, and urbanicity.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: NORC University of Chicago 2: Department of Public Administration Konkuk University 3: Department of Sociology University of Chicago

Publication date: December 1, 2009


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