Faith, belief and churchgoing in Australia

Thursday, March 24, 2016

While it is a stretch to describe diverse, 21st Century Australia as a Christian country, the national data on religious identity from the 2011 Census shows the majority of Australians (61.1%) identify their religion as Christianity, a slight decline from 63.9% in the 2006 Census. More than a quarter of the population (25.3%) identify as Catholic, with the second most common Christian affiliation being Anglican (17.1%) and third is the Uniting Church (5%).

The most common non-Christian religions were Buddhism (2.5%), Islam (2.2%) and Hinduism (1.3%). Not only is the total proportion of Australians identifying with a Christian denomination 24 times larger than the second most common religion (Buddhism), but Christianity is 8 times larger than all non-Christian religions combined (7.2%).

The rise in no religion

The fastest growing religion as identified over the two last census’ has been Hinduism, which increased from 0.7% to 1.3%, an increase of 127,410 adherents. However, the biggest growth in total numbers has been the rise in no religion from 18.7% in 2006 to 22.3% in 2011, which represents an increase in more than 1 million people over this time from 3.7 million to 4.8 million. Such has been the rise in Australians selecting no religion, it is now the most common “belief” category in 5 of Australia’s 8 states and territories (Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory). Yet in both Victoria and Queensland, Catholic (26.7% and 23.8% respectively) comes ahead of no religion (24.0% and 22.1%) while in NSW- Australia’s most religious state, both Catholic (27.5%) and Anglican (19.9%) are ahead of no religion (17.9%).

Not only is NSW the most religious state but Sydney is Australia’s most religious capital city, with those selecting no religion (17.6%) significantly lower than is found in Brisbane (22.8%), the city of churches – Adelaide (28.1%), Canberra (28.9%) and Hobart, Australia’s least religious capital, (29.4%).

Majority believe in God

Not only does most of Australia identify with Christianity, but more than half (55%) of the population believes in God, as defined as the Creator of the universe, the Supreme Being.

However, there are signs of fading belief in God with the majority of the oldest generation aged over 70 believing in God (61%) along with the majority of the fifty and sixty-something Baby Boomers (53%) compared to a slight minority of late thirties and forty-something Gen Xers (46%) and Generation Y (41%) but less than 1 in 3 Gen Z’s (31%) who are today’s teenagers and early twenties.

The most common category for Australians’ belief in God is that they are believers, who believe now and always have (47%) and second are non-believers who don’t believe in God and never have (26%). Although, changers, who used to believe and now don’t (18%) are twice as common as converters, who believe in God now but didn’t used to (8%).

1 in 6 Australians are church-goers

Regular church attendance has also been declining over the past few generations and has more than halved in around 4 decades from 1 in 3 Australians (36% in 1972) to 1 in 6 currently (15%, National Church Life Survey 2011). While in decline, the total numbers of church goers nationally total around 3.6 million Australians, which makes church much more attended than the other Australian religion - professional sport. In fact, when thinking about this Easter weekend, 13% of Australians say they will definitely go to church with an additional 10% stating that they probably will- and if they all do, that’s more than 4 million adults, plus many kids in tow.

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


internships newspaper generational trends the lucky country 10 years donate resilience Hornsby Shire Council charity aged care puzzle workforce resource stay home FOMO thrive online states Northern Beaches urban living index Australia Day Kirsten Brewer the hills shire visual demography environment dreams futurist NBRS home Christmas day weather ACF earnings insights results ideas mythbusters high density apartments australian real estate survey future proofing social life McCrindle Speakers population safe jobs bureau child care global generations families hopes US friendship university 2015 innovation the australian dream australia future of education choice workers tips royal influence unaffordable Research Executive healthy future 2017 leader Christmas presents cost trends high school teach community professional presenters tableau speajer lalor park australians staying home more Australian communities schools students employmee wage market research socialising census data land of the middle class organisational culture year 7 Engineering Manager snapshot parents Gen Y Sydney population rent youth speakers social researchers NFP event baby name predictions christmas 2017 publication belief house price couple prince george christmas social shifts career moderators guide SA increasing densification tertiary education "know the times" IT Specialists screenagers Geoff Brailey future of shopping culturally diverse millennials social enquiry mover and shaker eliane miles christian ethnography shopper's pick income christianity public speaking live the dream life cica the average aussie education future presentation group session education future report volunteers grandparents learning styles Australia street keynote royal family Tuesday Trend digital economy Gen X happy holidays purpose wedding Macquarie University property market entrepreneurs of today ABS shopping centre optus Scouts new office google global retail dare to dream communication staff renting waverton dessert sports demographics leadership workshop food Real Estate Institute of Victoria public speaker gig rich New Zealand typical australian baby boom small business Western Australia Australian Population keynote speaker paying to work hello fresh internship school students family new york times government bus faux-cilising interactive potts point EFF Sydney keynote speaker education sector Jura Coffee media release learner not for profit hobart travel responsive Skilling sector wide study public transport Wodonga house etiquette marketing Business analysis research omnibus dreaming generation alpha outsourcing growth of sydney criminal ashley mckenzie cancel plans transport Sydney’s south west Aussies housing market volunteering Black Friday Sales award media household ACT program future-proof volunteer social lives researcher Christmas Stats stats the hills poor brisbane domestic australian nativity scene intern water cooking local community social change urban living socialites technology goals social analyst Sydney Lifestyle Study wellbeing eliane recap #censusfail HSC educated changing face of sydney growing population VET sector anzac Christmas day sentiments social analysis NSW buildings seasons baby names australia report meals economy demographer presentations Gen Z Expert royal relational rise of local Education Future Forum rental stress Financial Planning Association world wealth inequality capital cities story vegemite divorce February 16 WA Generation X selfie princess charlotte 2012 average aussie Word Up personal growth Cobbitty-Leppington case study chairty The ABC of XYZ New South Wales menai Elderslie-Harrington park mccrinlde infographic wall research data research visualisation daily commute sydneycity Hills Shire Council employmer australian social research lifestyle Research Director social researcher product contiki census 2016 visualisation weekly earnings demographic transformations cartodb easy rider monarchy communicate national wealth forecasting money rule keeper Mount Annan-Currant Hill quote mentor sunburnt country plans social housing growth townhouses ashley fell ageing engage food insecurity SMART financial social commentator dream baby names report gender business index click Queensland: QLD summer pharmacies younger generations language happiness Duchess of Cambridge city trades Financial Planning Association of Australia australian community trends report curiosity urban taskforce micro apartments sydney property market trends of 2016 university degree kate middleton slideshare infographic mobile urban commuters entrepreneur Bathburst millenials teaching mythbusting capital city acf15 census data motivate seasons greetings jobs of the future low density JOMO Christmas research post rationalism Australian Bureau of Statistics James Ward friends hornsby sydneysiders emerging technologies retirement graphs who is generation z screenage christmas trees professional services teachers financial independence news proactive gen alpha workshop ferry giving Mark McCrindle tv research on coffee TED challenge Australian demographics neutral bay events authenticity 2013 qualitative research research report demographic trends grave decision CPI wealth and income cancelling plans twentyseventeen work-life volunteering data customer 1968 geomapping forum Social Trend workplace culture cultural diveristy ACF 2016 employment world youth day professional development future proof social impact future wealth faux-cilise names Work place know the times Jura Australia 1975 panel Christmas season goal World Water Day Res Vis Myth ACT Report global financial crisis cancelling event national crime rates event crime Hunter Valley Do It Yourself innovative annual income sydney market generation Births Australian community trends 24,000,000 Lower Hunter Region ultimo census results father's day school deloitte Channel 7 training middle class commuting Sydney sydney speaker communities PSI travelling SRE Charlotte English village work from home Territory education showreel TDE baby name McCridle gig economy employers communications car conference property development mother's day clothing owning a home population map Population Clock community engagement home owner Black Friday in Australia financial dreams tea engagement skills average sydneysider area sydney metro workplace ACF2017 home ownership Tasmania Canberra sector wide Melbourne Generation Y housing affordability repayments mccrindle tea royal baby youth unemployment Andrew Duffin Deaths property price baby name trends ease of travel going out donation alpha forecast REIV National Conference easter optimistic education research energy Australia Day 2017 educhat 23 million change tuesday gen z meetings apartment McCrindle Speaker urban development public holiday house price rise focus group Adelaide finance debate online shopping social trends internet baby names breakfast list wealth distribution sydney hills wealth and income distribution vegetarian Financial Planning Week emerging generations global year 12 define entertainment student narcissism food bank Australian Census TEDx Speaker mining boom FPA Black Friday insight shifts hills earn trend woolworths VIC nfp Kiwi Northern beaches Event consumer financial fears pharmacy What is food insecurity? Christmas lunch group aussie culture Crime Rates households young people VET church local Channel Seven 1980 fears wages infographics national private wealth Sydney Hills Business Chamber politics huffington post System's Architect generations video cash brands state sydney event conference presentation demographic rising house prices mccrindle research participants trends of 2017 New Zeland mccrindle survey design growth australian communities forum social research learning mortgage overcast impact mateship celebration TEDx focus groups Willowdale sector REIV Conference teacher media commentary Love TAS collaborative business The Daily Edition Australians Australian schools salary daily telegraph holiday social commentary society trends research services property darwin living speaker analysis Northern Beaches Christian School sustainable mccrindle in the media real sun train Australian Home school satisfaction CBD casual research pack Christmas in Australia optus my business awards 40 million professional society supply and demand men poker master cold balance google for education office space ACF17 brand 2014 divorce rate entrepreneurial Christmas data tattoos Lower Hunter not for profit research millionth gold coast baby population milestone pyrmont logan Vocational education NT commute Netflix networking investing offenders coffee follow careers business performance housing trends 1994 relevant future of work baby boomers 2016 Australian Families McCrindle Keynote Speakers economic sunny days high density norwest children South Australia in the media affordability collaboration parenting learn faux-ciliser financial planning the changing face of thought leadership speakers pack work emerging trends social issues suburb residents culture spirituality January 26th DIY micro marriage Queensland consumerism Tuesday Trends professional speaker unemployment Wellington Valentine’s Day faith non profit the great screenage aged care brand experience Real Estate suburban living blaxland staying in investment local communities rain investor 24 million Northern Territory spend shopping Caregiver experience builders wolloomooloo identity 2016 census moreton bay medicine high density living study young australians office women Mark McCrindle in the media 2016 census results schools leadership Royals trend tuesday care support census fail earning manly report Merry Christmas sydneysider Maxim Accounting work mates 2020 suburbs data visualisation hunger Aussie toys NEETs affordable conference speaker generation Z cultural diversity cloudy days greatness organisations conferences bondi fresh cost of living environmental scanning hills shire megatrends ageing population marriages cars equip office opening winter blues long weekend data analyst teleworking holidays Retail digital coffee lovers social media personalities marrickville Australian Trends crows nest winter Christchurch litter average Australian SMSF facts TED talk Performance Sentiment Index GPO population growth in depth interviews Assistant Store Manager ipswich victoria renter of the future debt budget house prices trends analyst storytelling apartments DESTEL not-for-profit statistics media activity Wagga Wagga Australian Dream students award winner charities priorities religion shbc financial future perth community event australian communities trends report weather NBRS Architecture housing Australian Communities Trends