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


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