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.

Merry Christmas from the McCrindle team

Monday, December 21, 2015

All of us here at McCrindle wish you a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic holiday break.  As social researchers we know that you'll be enjoying time with family and friends, and wishing health, happiness and peace to those around you. We hope you enjoy unwrapping the technology gifts as well as clothes and accessories you are likely to receive. Enjoy writing your Christmas cards, which would stand over 57km tall in a pile, and wrapping your presents – which would stretch 7,970km long (as a nation)!

We hope you enjoy the infographic we have put together, and that amidst the busyness of the season you have time to connect with family and friends, reflect on the Christmas story and enjoy the many things that make this country great.

Have a Merry Christmas, a fantastic 2016 and we hope you don't receive too many re-gifted presents!

- The McCrindle Team




Aussie Sentiment to the Christmas Season

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

In the lead up to Christmas, we surveyed 1,012 Australians to discover their sentiment and spending intentions for this Christmas season.

This year, Aussies plan on saving money, staying at home with family and friends and are hoping for technological gifts under the tree.

28% Aussies will do at least half their Christmas shopping online


While online shopping has become an increasing trend, with more than a quarter (28%) of Aussies planning on to complete at least half of their Christmas shopping online, there is still a desire among Australians to complete their Christmas shopping in actual stores, with 39% not doing any shopping online and 34% buying most of their gifts from actual stores.

Comparatively, while the majority of Australians will do their Christmas shopping in-store, the number of Australians who will buy most or all of their Christmas shopping online this year (12%) has increased by 2% since 2013 (10%).

Family and friends are our favourite part of Christmas


The number one thing Australians look forward to about the 2015 Christmas season is spending time with family and friends, indicated by 7 in 10 (69%). Over 2 in 5 (44%) Australians also say that shopping, gift-giving and the Boxing Day sales is what they look forward to most about the season.

Aussies plan on staying at home this holiday season


More than half (54%) of Australians will not be holidaying during this Christmas season. Of those that will be, almost a quarter (23%) will be holidaying within their home state, while 16% will be travelling interstate and 6% overseas.

Technology and clothing high on the wish list, but for many it’s not about the gift


16% of Australians who know what they want for Christmas are most hoping for a technological present of some kind, making it the most hoped for gift of 2015.

The second most hoped for category is clothing/shoes/accessories (14%) followed by experiences (12%) and then food or beverages (11%).

Of the Australians who selected ‘other’ (29%), the majority of them (which comprised 24% of total responders, or almost 1 in 4 Australians) indicated that they did not want any particular present. Of those who indicated that they did not want a particular material gift, but expressed a desire for something, 51% stated it was time with family, 31% were hoping for health / happiness, and 18% peace.

1 in 5 Aussies plan to spend more this Christmas than last year


While Australian’s are more likely to save this Christmas season, Australian’s have a higher likelihood to spend more this Christmas compared to the previous three years, with almost 1 in 5 (18%) planning on spending more this season compared to last year.

Australians who plan on spending less this Christmas season intend to do so by reducing the amount of money spent on gifts. Another method is to buy Christmas supplies in advance when they are on sale, while some Australians will not celebrate Christmas at all to converse their cash.

The top 7 most featured answers included:

  1. Spending less money on presents for family and friends
  2. Buy Christmas supplies when on sale
  3. Making hand-made presents for friends and family
  4. Simply not celebrating Christmas
  5. Cooking less or buying less food for celebrations
  6. Getting organized and buying presents early before the Christmas season
  7. Buying presents only for children.

Download the Australian Christmas Attitudes 2015 report. Click here to download the full report.

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