POPULATION81,305,856 (July 2012 est.)
GDP PER CAPITA$38,400 (2011 est.)
RELIGIONSProtestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%
ALSO IN EUROPE AND RUSSIAAlbania
AT THE CENTER
While German society has become increasingly secular, the country remains home to a thoroughly organized religious sector, with the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches as its largest denominations. The Protestant Reformation (1517-1648) divided Germany along confessional lines, with Catholics concentrated in the south and west and Protestants in the north and east. German reunification in 1990 greatly increased the country’s non-religious population, a legacy of state atheism promoted by Soviet-controlled East Germany. In recent decades, Christian church membership has decreased particularly among Protestants. Germany is home to a small but thriving Jewish population, with a considerable number of émigrés from the former Soviet Union. The Basic Law of Germany guarantees religious freedom and lays out the general structure of church-state relations. Religious communities may organize into “statutory corporations” in order to receive tax privileges and offer religious instruction in schools. There is a growing Muslim community as a result of decades of immigration, mainly from Turkey, which still lacks full state recognition.