Religion, Churchgoing and Easter

Friday, April 14, 2017

Each year Easter provides an opportunity for Australians to not just consume copious amounts of chocolate but also to reflect on the Christian meaning of this national holiday.

The rise of “No religion”

A decade ago, Australians selecting “No religion” in the Census ranked third, at 18.7%, after Catholic (25.8%) and Anglican (18.7%). By 2011, No religion rose by 4.5% points to 22.3%, overtaking Anglican (which had fallen slightly to 17.1%), though still ranked second after Catholic (down to 25.3%).

If this trend has continued, the Census 2016 results (to be released on 27 June) will be the first in Australia’s history to record No religion larger than any other religious grouping.

In the 2011 Census, only three of Australia’s eight states and territories had Catholic as the most dominant religion (NSW, Victoria and Queensland) while for the rest of the country, No religion was the most dominant. Based on the trends over the last decade, it is likely that in the 2016 results NSW will remain the only state or territory where No religion is not the most common worldview.

Christian religion, total: 61%

When all of the Christian denominations are combined, the 2011 Census results record this at 61%, down from 64% in 2006.

Christian, not just spiritual, total: 44%

In our Faith and Belief in Australia study, which will be launched in May, the results show that when Australians are given the option of selecting “spiritual but not any main religion” (an option not available in the Census) the total Christianity numbers drop to 44%.

I consider myself a Christian, total: 38%

When the religious identity question is personalised to the statement “I consider myself a Christian”, 38% of Australians agree.

Regular churchgoer, total: 14.5%

Of Australians who identify their religion as Christianity, 22% attend church weekly, with an additional 11% attending fortnightly or monthly. Regular church attendees, defined as those who attend church at least once per month, comprise in total 14.5% of the adult population.

How many Australians will attend church this Easter?

It is reasonable to predict that most of the quarterly and annual churchgoers will attend church at some point over Easter, along with the regular churchgoers. In total, this is 50% of Australians identifying with the Christian religion- or 22% of all adults. Therefore, Easter church services nationally will see around 3.9 million adults in attendance.

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.

Attitudes towards God and Church this Easter

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Each year Easter provides an opportunity for Australians to not just consume copious amounts of chocolate but also to reflect on the Christian meaning of this national holiday.

In the lead up to Easter we surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,015 Australians to gage their attitudes and sentiments surrounding their belief in God and intentions to attend church this Easter.

Over half Australians believe God exists

Just over half (52%) of Australian’s believe that God exists as the creator of the universe and Supreme Being. These findings have yielded similar results to the same question asked to the Australian public 6 years ago (from the 2009 Survey of Australian Attitudes conducted by the Australian National University) in which 54% identified they have a belief in God.

Church attendance set to double at Easter

Whilst 15% of Australians regularly attend church (at least once a month, according to NCLS data), this is anticipated to double at Easter with around 1 in 3 Australians (30%) indicating they will attend church at Easter this year.

National Church Life Survey data shows that over the last four decades the proportion of Australians attending church at least once per month has more than halved from 36% (1972) to 15% currently. However this is still a significant proportion of the Australian population and indeed twice as many Australians attend church at least once per month (3.495m) as attend all AFL, NRL, A League and Super Rugby games combined per month (1.684m) during the football season.

Christianity still Australia’s largest religion

The number of Australians identifying with Christianity is more than 24 times larger than the numbers identifying with the second largest religion in Australia, Buddhism (2.5%). Indeed, the proportion of Australians identifying with Christianity as their religion is more than eight times larger than Australians identifying with all other religions combined (7.3%).


Mark McCrindle - Social Researcher


P: 02 8824 3422

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


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