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%).


FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Mark McCrindle - Social Researcher

E: ashley@mccrindle.com.au

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


Tags

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

Archive