AustraliaCommunity profile

We’re continuing to update these pages with data from the 2016 Census. Read more about our updates.

Skip to content

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 (+3,296,571) 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)20162006Change
ReligionNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2006 to 2016
Western (Roman) Catholic5,229,64922.322.75,085,86125.626.5+143,788
Uniting Church870,1933.72.81,135,1325.74.6-264,939
Presbyterian and Reformed526,6912.31.8596,4743.02.5-69,783
Greek Orthodox373,5941.62.2374,5511.92.7-957
Other Protestant108,3130.50.556,0860.30.3+52,227
Jehova's Witnesses82,4990.40.380,8780.40.4+1,621
Seventh Day Adventist62,9480.30.255,2500.30.2+7,698
Latter Day Saints (Mormons)61,6280.30.353,1750.30.3+8,453
Macedonian Orthodox49,6900.20.348,0840.20.3+1,606
Salvation Army48,9440.20.264,1940.30.3-15,250
Serbian Orthodox41,0180.20.239,9740.20.3+1,044
Churches of Christ39,6120.20.254,8110.30.3-15,199
Maronite Catholic36,4410.20.229,0740.10.2+7,367
Coptic Orthodox28,6360.10.219,9260.10.2+8,710
Other Non-Christian Religions28,1580.10.219,9640.10.1+8,194
Other Eastern Catholic25,7530.10.210,7020.10.1+15,051
Russian Orthodox21,9580.10.119,9680.10.1+1,990
Other Christian21,4350.10.123,8790.10.1-2,444
Other Eastern Orthodox16,5430.10.161,5610.30.4-45,018
Other Oriental Orthodox14,3400.10.14,7330.00.0+9,607
Assyrian Apostolic13,8660.10.18,1920.00.1+5,674
Chinese and Japanese Religions8,1590.00.05,6750.00.0+2,484
Australian Aboriginal Traditional Religions8,0830.00.05,3700.00.0+2,713
Armenian Apostolic8,0190.00.18,0480.00.1-29
Other Nature Religions6,8720.00.07,6850.00.0-813
Show me more!

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2006 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)20162006Change
Religion totalsNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2006 to 2016
Christian total12,202,57552.149.712,682,55663.961.8-479,981
Non Christian total1,922,3458.211.21,106,9435.67.8+815,402
Non-classifiable religious belief143,2620.60.6131,6990.70.7+11,563
No religion7,001,52829.929.93,704,95718.718.7+3,296,571
Not stated2,132,1779.18.62,222,11311.211.0-89,936

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2006 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 by .id, the population experts.
Change in religion, 2006 to 2016
Change in religion, 2006 to 2016 Western (Roman) Catholic, Australia: +143,788 Anglican, Australia: -615,872 Uniting Church, Australia: -264,939 Christian,nfd, Australia: +299,241 Islam, Australia: +263,890 Buddhism, Australia: +145,007 Presbyterian and Reformed, Australia: -69,783 Hinduism, Australia: +292,199 Greek Orthodox, Australia: -957 Baptist, Australia: +28,474
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2006 and 2016 (Enumerated data)
Compiled and presented in 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 2006 and 2016 were for those who nominated:

  • Anglican (-615,872 persons)
  • Christian,nfd (+299,241 persons)
  • Hinduism (+292,199 persons)
  • Uniting Church (-264,939 persons)