- Catholics 5,439,268
- No religion 4,796,787
- Anglican 3,679,907
- Uniting Church 1,065,795
- Presbyterian and Reformed 599,515
- Hindu 275,535
People professing to have no religion have moved past Anglicans to become the second-largest grouping after Catholics in the 2011 [Australian] Census.
Almost 4.8 million people said they had no religion, up 29 per cent from 2006, but the number of people not answering the question dropped by 2 per cent. This suggested that more people were claiming a religious identity (including no religion), said Monash University sociology professor Gary Bouma.
The total Christian population is 13.2 million, or 61 per cent, down three percentage points. Catholics have dropped half a percentage point to 25.3 or 5.4 million, Anglicans are down 1.6 percentage points to 3.7 million, while the Uniting Church is down to 5 per cent, or 1.1 million people.
Minority religions all showed strong growth, particularly Hindus, whose numbers nearly doubled to 276,000, from 0.7% to 1.3%. Buddhists have risen from 2.1 per cent to 2.5 per cent, Muslims from 1.7 per cent to 2.2 per cent.Professor Bouma said Hindu growth was due to migration, and the recent Muslim growth was due to continued migration from south Asia and a high birth rate.
‘‘The rise in ‘no religion’ continues its historic trend, even in the face of an apparent small rise in claiming a religious identity. So polarisation is increasing,’’ Professor Bouma said.
In five of eight states and territories, no religion provides the largest group. In Victoria and Queensland it is second, behind Catholics, and in NSW it is third, also behind Anglicans.
An interesting development is in the groups coming next in each state and capital city. In Sydney, Muslims have passed Eastern Orthodox into fourth place with 4.7 per cent, but for the state of NSW Islam is fifth, following the Uniting Church.
In Melbourne the Eastern Orthodox are fourth (5.5 per cent) and Buddhists fifth (4 per cent), while statewide in Victoria the Uniting Church leapfrogs the Orthodox into fourth.
In all other states and capital cities the Uniting Church is fourth. In Queensland and Brisbane, Presbyterians take fifth spot. In Western Australia undefined Christians have replaced Presbyterians in fifth position but in both Perth and Canberra it is Buddhists who have displaced Presbyterians. Presbyterians keep fifth place in Tasmania, including Hobart.
In Adelaide Orthodox Christians take fifth spot, while for the whole state Lutherans are fifth, as they are in Darwin and the Northern Territory.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald