AustraliaCommunity profile

2016 Census data will be released soon and we're busy behind the scenes getting this website ready. Read our plan.

Skip to content

In Australia, the number of non religious persons experienced the greatest change (+2,635,001) compared to non Christians and Christians in 2011.

Australia's religion statistics provide an indicator of cultural identity and ethnicity when observed in conjunction with other key variables. Religion data reveal the major concentrations of religions as well as revealing the proportion of people with no religious affiliation. There are a number of reasons for different religious compositions across areas including the country of birth and ethnic background of the population, the age of the population (belief in religion is generally stronger, the older the population) and changes in values and belief systems.

Australia's religion statistics should be analysed in conjunction with other ethnicity statistics such as Country of Birth data and Language Spoken data to assist in identifying specific cultural and ethnic groups.

Derived from the Census question:

'What is the person's religion?'

Total population

Religion - Ranked by size
Australia - Total persons (Usual residence)20111991Change
ReligionNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %1991 to 2011
Western (Roman) Catholic5,397,18125.125.84,591,78427.4--+805,397
Uniting Church1,065,7495.03.91,385,2008.3---319,451
Presbyterian and Reformed599,4892.82.3727,3244.3---127,835
Greek Orthodox383,3901.82.5356,6252.1--+26,765
Jehova's Witnesses85,6370.40.374,6460.4--+10,991
Other Eastern Orthodox63,5460.30.434,1210.2--+29,425
Seventh Day Adventist62,9950.30.348,1620.3--+14,833
Other Protestant60,2200.30.331,8530.2--+28,367
Salvation Army60,1600.30.272,3140.4---12,154
Latter Day Saints (Mormons)59,7670.30.338,0460.2--+21,721
Macedonian Orthodox52,0560.20.346,0830.3--+5,973
Churches of Christ49,6890.20.278,2010.5---28,512
Serbian Orthodox41,8350.20.322,6540.1--+19,181
Maronite Catholic30,6600.10.200.0--+30,660
Other Christian27,0190.10.113,6330.1--+13,386
Coptic Orthodox24,6950.10.29,7820.1--+14,913
Other Non-Christian Religions24,4040.10.114,3240.1--+10,080
Russian Orthodox22,2510.10.114,2560.1--+7,995
Show me more!

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 1991 and 2011. Compiled and presented by .id , the population experts.

Excludes religions with fewer than 20 adherents, or less than 0.1% of the total population.

Religion - Summary
Australia - Total persons (Usual residence)20111991Change
Religion totalsNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %1991 to 2011
Christian total13,150,07861.158.912,422,64174.1--+727,437
Non Christian total1,547,8067.29.9439,3472.6--+1,108,459
Non-classifiable religious belief171,6330.80.849,0080.3--+122,625
No religion4,796,43222.322.22,161,43112.9--+2,635,001
Not stated1,838,7408.68.21,699,52910.1--+139,211

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 1991 and 2011. Compiled and presented by .id , the population experts.

Religion, 2011
Religion, 2011 Western (Roman) Catholic, Greater Capital Cities: 25.8% Anglican, Greater Capital Cities: 14.8% Uniting Church, Greater Capital Cities: 3.9% Presbyterian and Reformed, Greater Capital Cities: 2.3% Buddhism, Greater Capital Cities: 3.3% Islam, Greater Capital Cities: 3.2% Christian,nfd, Greater Capital Cities: 2.1% Greek Orthodox, Greater Capital Cities: 2.5% Baptist, Greater Capital Cities: 1.7% Hinduism, Greater Capital Cities: 1.8% Western (Roman) Catholic, Australia: 25.1% Anglican, Australia: 17.1% Uniting Church, Australia: 5.0% Presbyterian and Reformed, Australia: 2.8% Buddhism, Australia: 2.5% Islam, Australia: 2.2% Christian,nfd, Australia: 2.2% Greek Orthodox, Australia: 1.8% Baptist, Australia: 1.6% Hinduism, Australia: 1.3%
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2011 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in by .id, the population experts.
Change in religion, 1991 to 2011
Change in religion, 1991 to 2011 Western (Roman) Catholic, Australia: +805,397 Anglican, Australia: -325,073 Uniting Church, Australia: -319,451 Presbyterian and Reformed, Australia: -127,835 Buddhism, Australia: +391,662 Islam, Australia: +328,893 Christian,nfd, Australia: +322,483 Greek Orthodox, Australia: +26,765 Baptist, Australia: +74,213 Hinduism, Australia: +232,555
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 1991 and 2011 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in by .id, the population experts.

Dominant groups

Analysis of the religious affiliation of the population of Australia in 2011 compared to Greater Capital Cities shows that there was a similar proportion of people who professed a religion as well as a similar proportion who stated they had no religion.

Overall, 68.3% of the population nominated a religion, and 22.3% said they had no religion, compared with 68.8% and 22.2% respectively for Greater Capital Cities.

The largest single religion in Australia was Western (Roman) Catholic, with 25.1% of the population or 5,397,181 people as adherents.

The major differences between the religious affiliation for the population of Australia and Greater Capital Cities were:

  • A larger percentage who nominated Anglican (17.1% compared to 14.8%)
  • A larger percentage who nominated Uniting Church (5.0% compared to 3.9%)

Emerging groups

The largest changes in the religious affiliation of the population in Australia between 1991 and 2011 were for those who nominated:

  • Western (Roman) Catholic (+805,397 persons)
  • Buddhism (+391,662 persons)
  • Islam (+328,893 persons)
  • Anglican (-325,073 persons)