Australian census confirms healthy trend

The early results from the Australian 2011 census have appeared. There has been a lot of comment on the trends for religion. The No Religion group has now moved to second place (22.3%), behind Catholic (25.3%) and ahead of Anglican (17.1%). And, the No Religion group is the only one of the major religious groups that has increased since the previous Census (2006) – all the other major religious groups have declined. I have summarised the data (from 2011 Census QuickStats: Australia) in the figure below.

This trend is just a continuation of that clear since earlier census results (see Secular twins and Non religious in Australia and New Zealand). And Australia still has some catching up to do with New Zealand. (In 2006 the No Religion was about 34% in New Zealand and 19% in Australia).  Although this might be at least partly due to the fact that in New Zealand we put the “No religion” choice at the top of the box while the Australians put theirs at the bottom (see Non religious in Australia and New Zealand).

I’ll return to this when the Australian detailed census data is published. My interest is to see the breakdown with respect to age. Previous results in Australia and New Zealand show that the “No Religion” choice is much higher for younger people (see Religious belief and age). And the recent Pew data for the USA show there was a sharp jump in non-belief among younger people in the middle of the last decade (see Sharp increase in “nones”).

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13 responses to “Australian census confirms healthy trend

  1. Reason shall prevail.

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  2. Are there any non-Christian religions in Australia? For example, Muslims, Buddists, Jews, Hindus,

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  3. Of course there are Michel. These are only early data and the lower ranking religions weren’t included.

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  4. And the atheists haven’t even got an all powerful deity on their side. Another glowing example of just how useless the god fantasy is. Jees, in Christchurch, it couldn’t even take care of its real estate.

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  5. Paul Bennett

    Hi All, got this from the “Friendly Atheist” website, regarding the Australian Census results. It makes an interesting argument for the proposition that the “Nones” may in reality be the largest “Religious” group after all! http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/06/25/were-non-religious-australians-under-reported-in-the-2012-census-the-raw-data-suggests-they-were/

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  6. Putting “no religion” on the census form does not mean that you are an atheist.

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  7. The No Religion group has now moved to second place (22.3%), behind Catholic (25.3%) and ahead of Anglican (17.1%). And, the No Religion group is the only one of the major religious groups that has increased since the previous Census (2006) – all the other major religious groups have declined.

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  8. I’ll have to ditto what Michel said, being non-religious does not make you an atheist.

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  9. On the other hand, atheists are non-religious.

    Ricky Gervais on Atheism

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  10. Mathi and Michel – who the hell is equating “no religion” with atheism?

    “No Religion” is a choice one can tick on the census form in NZ and Australia – it clealy covers a multitude of sins. Some people choose to enter their own religion where it is not listed – from Jedi to Maori religion to atheist to agnostic. Both Australia and New Zealand statistics departments put atheism and agnostic into the “No Religion” box.

    I thought I was careful not to equate “No Religion” with anything more specific and can’t understand why you raise this.

    (Actually I think it is far more interesting that UK surveys show that census Christians – those ticking a Christian box in the census – very often don’t take this to mean they accept Christian teachings. And in my own family my parents ticked the Anglican or Presbytaian box but they were not Christian. This issue is far more complicated than you seem to think).

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  11. And in my own family my parents ticked the Anglican or Presbytaian box but they were not Christian. This issue is far more complicated than you seem to think.

    Putting “religion” on the census form does not mean that you are religious. ;)

    Richard Dawkins – The Census Research Explained

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  12. I was just making an observation.

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