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In Australia, the number of non religious persons experienced the greatest change (+1,723,363) 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 (Enumerated)20111996Change
ReligionNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %1996 to 2011
Western (Roman) Catholic5,397,09625.125.84,966,58626.928.2+430,510
Uniting Church1,065,7285.03.91,381,4247.56.1-315,696
Presbyterian and Reformed599,4772.82.3706,1383.83.1-106,661
Greek Orthodox383,3921.82.5367,8312.03.0+15,561
Jehova's Witnesses85,6360.40.486,9950.50.4-1,359
Other Eastern Orthodox63,5290.30.436,7400.20.3+26,789
Seventh Day Adventist62,9980.30.354,2070.30.3+8,791
Other Protestant60,2210.30.351,9490.30.3+8,272
Salvation Army60,1640.30.276,5200.40.3-16,356
Latter Day Saints (Mormons)59,7620.30.346,9110.30.3+12,851
Macedonian Orthodox52,0560.20.353,5370.30.4-1,481
Churches of Christ49,6930.20.277,6500.40.4-27,957
Serbian Orthodox41,8310.20.332,9850.20.2+8,846
Maronite Catholic30,6570.10.214,1850.10.1+16,472
Other Christian27,0150.10.123,9460.10.1+3,069
Coptic Orthodox24,6980.10.214,8590.10.1+9,839
Other Non-Christian Religions24,3980.10.115,0170.10.1+9,381
Russian Orthodox22,2460.10.115,7260.10.1+6,520
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Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 1996 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 (Enumerated)20111996Change
Religion totalsNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %1996 to 2011
Christian total13,149,84761.158.913,075,90770.968.9+73,940
Non Christian total1,547,8217.29.9630,0453.44.9+917,776
Non-classifiable religious belief171,6290.80.858,6400.30.3+112,989
No religion4,796,28922.322.23,072,92616.717.3+1,723,363
Not stated1,838,6928.68.11,614,1938.78.6+224,499

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 1996 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 (Enumerated data)
Compiled and presented in by .id, the population experts.
Change in religion, 1996 to 2011
Change in religion, 1996 to 2011 Western (Roman) Catholic, Australia: +430,510 Anglican, Australia: -389,192 Uniting Church, Australia: -315,696 Presbyterian and Reformed, Australia: -106,661 Buddhism, Australia: +323,626 Islam, Australia: +271,809 Christian,nfd, Australia: +275,886 Greek Orthodox, Australia: +15,561 Baptist, Australia: +47,489 Hinduism, Australia: +205,823
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 1996 and 2011 (Enumerated 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 5,397,096 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 1996 and 2011 were for those who nominated:

  • Western (Roman) Catholic (+430,510 persons)
  • Anglican (-389,192 persons)
  • Buddhism (+323,626 persons)
  • Uniting Church (-315,696 persons)