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


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