Last month McCrindle completed a study for the Inter-Church Commission on Religious Education in Schools NSW (known as ICCOREIS). ICCOREIS commissioned this research in an effort to discover why parents still opt to send their children to scripture classes despite the continued fall in the number of Australians professing a Christian faith.
The survey was deployed to a nationally representative sample of 1,013 Australians, who are representative of Australia’s demographic profile (in terms of age, gender and location). The survey was conducted by McCrindle in April 2018.
99% of Australians believe it is important to teach values to Australian school students
It was no surprise to find that almost all Australians (99%) believe that it is important to teach values to Australian school students. Interestingly, more than four in five (84%) believe that Christian heritage has been influential in shaping the values that we teach children, with 60% believing this was ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ influential. Just 16% of those surveyed are opposed to parents having the choice of faith-based value education in schools. Most parents of primary age children in NSW are opting in to SRE (71%) as shown by the ARTD report into SRE and Ethics which McCrindle reviewed.
Christianity still Australia’s dominant religion
While the proportion of Australians identifying with Christianity is on the decline (down from 61% in the 2011 Census to 52.1% in the 2016 Census), those identifying with Christianity are still five times that of those identifying with all other religions combined.
More than half of Australians (53%) believe Jesus’ life is important
The Faith and Belief Report based on research conducted in 2017, shows that more than half of Australians (53%) believe Jesus’ life is extremely or very important to the history and culture of the world.
This analysis shows that even in an increasingly secular society, Australians are strongly supportive of equipping the next generation with a values foundation and that faith, for most, is still an important part of their life and this foundation.