Germany's Catholic and Protestant churches may lose half their members by 2060, according to a study. A drop in membership is expected to lead to a major budget shortfall.
The number of members belonging to Germany's two main churches will drop by half by 2060, putting severe financial strain on the religious institutions, according to a study published Thursday.
The main reasons for declining membership in the German Catholic and Protestant churches include adults leaving the church, fewer baptisms and an aging population, researchers at the University of Freiburg said.
The study, which was commissioned by the Catholic German Bishops Conference and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), predicted the combined membership in the two churches will drop from about 45 million now to 34.8 million by 2035 and 22.7 million by 2060.
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Impending budget holes
Members of the Catholic and Protestant churches pay up to 9% of their taxable income to the church, generating around €12 billion ($13.5 billion) in income in 2017.