Census

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2021 Census shows changes in Australia’s religious diversity

Media Release
Released
28/06/2022

The 2021 Census has revealed increasing diversity in the religions Australians identified, reflecting continuing changes in our social attitudes and belief systems.

Christianity is the most common religion in Australia, with over 40 per cent (43.9 per cent) identifying as Christian. This has reduced from over 50 per cent (52.1 per cent) in 2016 and from over 60 per cent (61.1 per cent) in 2011. As in earlier Censuses, the largest Christian denominations are Catholic (20.0 per cent of the population) and Anglican (9.8 per cent).

While fewer people are reporting their religion as Christian, more are reporting ‘no religion’. Almost 40 per cent (38.9 per cent) of Australia’s population reported having no religion in the 2021 Census, an increase from 30 per cent (30.1 per cent) in 2016 and 22 per cent (22.3 per cent) in 2011.

Other religions are growing but continue to make up a small proportion of the population. Hinduism has grown by 55.3 per cent to 684,002 people, or 2.7 per cent of the population. Islam has grown to 813,392 people, which is 3.2 per cent of the Australian population.

Dr David Gruen AO, Australian Statistician, said “The religion question holds a special place in the Census – it is one of the few topics that has been in every one of Australia’s 18 Censuses and is the only question that is voluntary.

Despite being voluntary, we saw an increase in the proportion of people answering the question, from 91 per cent in 2016 to 93 per cent in 2021.

Census religion data shows a characteristic of Australia that has changed significantly over the past two decades. Knowing about the religious affiliation across the population supports local planning for facilities, goods and services for Australians who identify as religious and helps them to live according to their beliefs”.

For further information about 2021 Census data, tune into the 2021 Census data release launch on 28 June at 10:00am AEST at http://www.abs.gov.au/census/events or explore the data at www.abs.gov.au/census/find-census-data.  

Media notes

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