The role of religion in European societies has become a prominent topic of academic and public debate. In the context of contemporary European societies questions concerning religion figure large when it comes to identities and social integration. The role of the different Christian traditions, the degree of secularization and the status of more recently immigrated religious minorities, especially of Muslims, are contested. Data on religious affiliation are regularly brought forward in debates about the strength, predominance and acceptance of various religious groups.
Despite the growing importance of this statistical information, social science research has thus far paid little attention to the question of religious affiliation and its precise measurement. In fact, current research uses figures on religious affiliation which vary greatly as our project phase I demonstrated.
The Swiss Metadatabase of Religious Affiliation in Europe (SMRE) has been set up to improve this situation. In the first phase (2011-2014) data from a wide range of sources have been collected by the SMRE team. The second phase of the project (2015-2018) was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).
The SMRE metadatase now provides detailed statistics and consolidated estimates on religious affiliation for European countries and regions including the EU. The SMRE metadatabase follows an open research data approach. Its use is free of charge.