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


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