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This topic has been updated with 2016 Census data for all areas. What's this?

In Australia, the number of non religious persons experienced the greatest change (+4,095,542) compared to non Christians and Christians in 2016.

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.

Please note: Due to changes in ABS rules around perturbation and additivity of data to protect the confidentiality of individuals in 2016, counts of individual religion groups and totals derived from them may differ slightly from those published by the ABS. For more information see notes on data confidentiality.

Derived from the Census question:

'What is the person's religion?'

Total population

Religion - Ranked by size
Australia - Total persons (Enumerated)20162001Change
ReligionNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2001 to 2016
Western (Roman) Catholic5,229,64922.322.74,959,27426.427.4+270,375
Anglican3,101,18313.311.03,881,15620.718.5-779,973
Uniting Church870,1933.72.81,248,6796.75.3-378,486
Christian,nfd612,3842.62.7253,2621.31.3+359,122
Islam604,2312.63.7281,5471.52.2+322,684
Buddhism563,6802.43.2357,8131.92.7+205,867
Presbyterian and Reformed526,6912.31.8637,5273.42.8-110,836
Hinduism440,3081.92.695,4750.50.7+344,833
Greek Orthodox373,5941.62.2364,5281.92.8+9,066
Baptist345,1441.51.5309,2091.61.7+35,935
Pentecostal260,5571.11.1194,6071.01.0+65,950
Lutheran174,0200.70.5250,3791.31.1-76,359
Sikhism125,9030.50.717,4000.10.1+108,503
Other Protestant108,3130.50.552,5780.30.3+55,735
Judaism91,0160.40.683,9160.40.7+7,100
Jehova's Witnesses82,4990.40.381,0880.40.4+1,411
Seventh Day Adventist62,9480.30.253,8610.30.3+9,087
Latter Day Saints (Mormons)61,6280.30.349,9440.30.3+11,684
Macedonian Orthodox49,6900.20.353,2820.30.4-3,592
Salvation Army48,9440.20.271,3770.40.3-22,433
Serbian Orthodox41,0180.20.242,4240.20.3-1,406
Churches of Christ39,6120.20.261,3200.30.3-21,708
Maronite Catholic36,4410.20.231,7780.20.3+4,663
Coptic Orthodox28,6360.10.217,8940.10.1+10,742
Other Non-Christian Religions28,1580.10.217,1030.10.1+11,055
Other Eastern Catholic25,7530.10.210,5590.10.1+15,194
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Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2001 and 2016. 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)20162001Change
Religion totalsNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2001 to 2016
Christian total12,202,57552.149.712,764,16568.065.8-561,590
Non Christian total1,922,3458.211.2908,5164.86.8+1,013,829
Non-classifiable religious belief143,2620.60.6354,6371.92.0-211,375
No religion7,001,52829.929.92,905,98615.515.7+4,095,542
Not stated2,132,1779.18.61,835,5939.89.6+296,584

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2001 and 2016. Compiled and presented by .id , the population experts.

Religion, 2016
Religion, 2016 Western (Roman) Catholic, Greater Capital Cities: 22.7% Anglican, Greater Capital Cities: 11.0% Uniting Church, Greater Capital Cities: 2.8% Christian,nfd, Greater Capital Cities: 2.7% Islam, Greater Capital Cities: 3.7% Buddhism, Greater Capital Cities: 3.2% Presbyterian and Reformed, Greater Capital Cities: 1.8% Hinduism, Greater Capital Cities: 2.6% Greek Orthodox, Greater Capital Cities: 2.2% Baptist, Greater Capital Cities: 1.5% Western (Roman) Catholic, Australia: 22.3% Anglican, Australia: 13.3% Uniting Church, Australia: 3.7% Christian,nfd, Australia: 2.6% Islam, Australia: 2.6% Buddhism, Australia: 2.4% Presbyterian and Reformed, Australia: 2.3% Hinduism, Australia: 1.9% Greek Orthodox, Australia: 1.6% Baptist, Australia: 1.5%
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2016 (Enumerated data)
Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, the population experts.
Change in religion, 2001 to 2016
Change in religion, 2001 to 2016 Western (Roman) Catholic, Australia: +270,375 Anglican, Australia: -779,973 Uniting Church, Australia: -378,486 Christian,nfd, Australia: +359,122 Islam, Australia: +322,684 Buddhism, Australia: +205,867 Presbyterian and Reformed, Australia: -110,836 Hinduism, Australia: +344,833 Greek Orthodox, Australia: +9,066 Baptist, Australia: +35,935
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2001 and 2016 (Enumerated data)
Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, the population experts.

Dominant groups

Analysis of the religious affiliation of the population of Australia in 2016 compared to Greater Capital Cities shows that there was a lower proportion of people who professed a religion and a similar proportion who stated they had no religion.

Overall, 60.4% of the population nominated a religion, and 29.9% said they had no religion, compared with 60.9% and 29.9% respectively for Greater Capital Cities.

The largest single religion in Australia was Western (Roman) Catholic, with 22.3% of the population or 5,229,649 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 (13.3% compared to 11.0%)
  • A smaller percentage who nominated Islam (2.6% compared to 3.7%)

Emerging groups

The largest changes in the religious affiliation of the population in Australia between 2001 and 2016 were for those who nominated:

  • Anglican (-779,973 persons)
  • Uniting Church (-378,486 persons)
  • Christian,nfd (+359,122 persons)
  • Hinduism (+344,833 persons)
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