2011 Census reveals Hinduism as the fastest growing religion in Australia

21 June 2012 | CO/61

2011 Census of Population and Housing data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows more Australians than ever are identifying as having no religious affiliation.

Christianity remained the most commonly reported religion in Australia with 61.1 per cent of the population reporting affiliation with a Christian religion – a decline from 63.9 per cent in 2006.

There was an increase in the number of people not reporting a Christian faith from 36.1 per cent of the population in 2006 to 38.9 per cent in 2011.

The number of people reporting 'No religion' increased significantly, from 18.7 per cent of the population in 2006 to 22.3 per cent in 2011.

The most common non-Christian religions in 2011 were Buddhism (accounting for 2.5 per cent of the population), Islam (2.2 per cent) and Hinduism (1.3 per cent). Of these, Hinduism had experienced the fastest growth since 2006, increasing from 148,130 to 275,534, followed by Islam from 340,394 to 476,291 and Buddhism from 418,749 to 528,977.

2011 Census Executive Director, Andrew Henderson, said these figures are once again a reflection of Australia’s diverse cultural canvas.

“Census data gives us a critical insight into the diversity of the country and how it has changed over the past five years,” Mr Henderson said.

“We see the changes in our diverse landscape in a number of topics, such as language spoken at home, country of birth and ancestry data, in addition to religion.

“Census data, including information on Australia’s diverse make-up is vital for helping to plan a brighter future for all Australians.”

The question of religious affiliation is the only optional question in the Census, with 8.6 per cent of Census respondents not answering the question.

Data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing is now available on the ABS website. Visit www.abs.gov.au/census.