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

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

Archive