Faith and Belief in Australia

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Faith and Belief in Australia Report is being launched today. A survey of 1,024 Australians shows that religion in Australia is not dead. 

Two in three identify with a religion or spirituality
More than two in three Australians (68%) follow a religion or have spiritual beliefs. Of those that do, almost half (47%) remain committed to the religion of their upbringing. The number of Australians who do not identify with a religion or spiritual belief, however, is on the rise with almost one in three (32%) not identifying with a religion. This study replicated the ABS Census question, but added in an option for ‘spiritual but not religious’. This had a response rate of 14% among Australians nationally, and the Christianity grouping was 45% (down from 61% in the 2011 Census).

More than half of Australians (52%) are open to changing their religious views given the right circumstances and evidence. Younger Australians are more open to changing their current religious views than older generations.

Religion and spirituality a popular topic of conversation
When gathering with friends, more than half of Australians (55%) often or occasionally talk about religion or spirituality. Generation Z (65%) are the most comfortable talking the topic, while the Baby Boomers are the least with 51% never talking about it with their friends.

A genuine faith the greatest attraction to a religion or spirituality
Observing people with genuine faith is the greatest attraction to investigating spirituality. Second is experiencing personal trauma or a significant life change. On the inverse, the top repellent to Australians investigating is public figures or celebrities who are examples of that faith. This is followed by miraculous stories of healings or supernatural occurrences.

Perceptions of Christianity 
Australians most value Christian organisations for their work with those in need, specifically looking after people who are homeless, offering financial assistance/food relief programs and providing disaster relief (74%, 72% and 69% respectively).  8% of Australian adults (1.5 million) do not know any Christians, while for Generation Y this is almost one in ten. One in 29 Australians have never heard of Jesus.

Research Launch
The full Faith and Belief in Australia research will be launched on Tuesday 9th May at an event in Sydney (register here) and Wednesday 10th May in Melbourne (register here). 

Download the full report here

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.

Sydney: Australia's most religious city

Thursday, October 08, 2015

There has much discussion of the decline of religion in Australia as measured by the last two Census’ (2006 and 2011) with the total stating “no religion” increasing from 18.7 to 22.3 over this five year period. Additionally the decline in the total identifying with a Christian denomination decreased from 64% to 61%.

However nationally the percentage identifying as Pentecostal, Salvation Army, Seventh-Day Adventist, and “other protestant” saw no decline and those in the Christian (not further defined) category saw an increase. Sydney is Australia’s most religious capital city with the lowest proportion of residents stating “no religion” (17.6%), while Hobart (29.4%) and Canberra (28.9%) have the highest proportion of populations not identifying with any religion.

The two dominant Christian identities nationally are Catholic (25.3%) and Anglican (17.1%). However Hobart is the one capital where Anglican (26.2%) outranks Catholic (20.3%) while Melbourne has the biggest differential between the two with Catholic (27.2%) more than twice the adherents as Anglican (10.8%). However it is Sydney that is the most Catholic of the capitals with 28.3%, and well ahead of Anglican at 16.1%. The areas of Sydney that have the highest identification with Christianity are in the South West with Menai, Mulgoa, Narellan, Warragamba and Horsley Park all areas rating above 80% Christianity. Sydney is also the only capital where a religion other than Christianity ranks in the top 3 (Islam, at 4.7%) with Auburn (42%) and Lakemba (49%) having the highest proportion of residents identifying with Islam.

Australia’s largest city, Sydney, is a religiously diverse one, and there is a strong link between location and religion as seen by these maps:

  • Catholic
  • Anglican
  • Judaism
  • Islam

For an in-depth visual look of Sydney by religious identification simply click on the interactive map above, and select the religions you would like to analyse by selecting the Visible layers box and options. You can also zoom in to look at specific areas of Sydney, or hover over a suburb to read the data.

About McCrindle Research Services

Utilising the right tools and methods and analysing the data is just half of the research process. Because the goal is implementation, the findings need the skills of visualisation and communication. As researchers we understand the methods, but we’re also designers and communicators so we know how to present the findings in ways that will best engage.

Geomapping is a new tool we have and we will be releasing more information and blog pieces on this exciting new output.

Let us know via social media if you have any topics you would like to be geomapped!

Connect with us on:

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

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

Archive