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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 (+2,205,100) compared to Christians and non 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 (Usual residence)20162011Change
ReligionNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2011 to 2016
Western (Roman) Catholic5,229,66722.322.65,397,18125.125.8-167,514
Uniting Church870,1873.72.81,065,7495.03.9-195,562
Presbyterian and Reformed526,6832.31.8599,4892.82.3-72,806
Greek Orthodox373,5941.62.2383,3901.82.5-9,796
Other Protestant108,3090.50.560,2200.30.3+48,089
Jehova's Witnesses82,5130.40.385,6370.40.3-3,124
Seventh Day Adventist62,9320.30.262,9950.30.3-63
Latter Day Saints (Mormons)61,6420.30.359,7670.30.3+1,875
Macedonian Orthodox49,6780.20.352,0560.20.3-2,378
Salvation Army48,9520.20.260,1600.30.2-11,208
Serbian Orthodox41,0130.20.241,8350.20.3-822
Churches of Christ39,6210.20.249,6890.20.2-10,068
Maronite Catholic36,4360.20.230,6600.10.2+5,776
Coptic Orthodox28,6380.10.224,6950.10.2+3,943
Other Non-Christian Religions28,1610.10.224,4040.10.1+3,757
Other Eastern Catholic25,7490.10.211,2090.10.1+14,540
Russian Orthodox21,9580.10.122,2510.10.1-293
Other Christian21,4360.10.127,0190.10.1-5,583
Other Eastern Orthodox16,5620.10.163,5460.30.4-46,984
Other Oriental Orthodox14,3380.10.18,9050.00.1+5,433
Assyrian Apostolic13,8650.10.110,5890.00.1+3,276
Chinese and Japanese Religions8,1600.00.06,7890.00.0+1,371
Australian Aboriginal Traditional Religions8,0820.00.07,3120.00.0+770
Armenian Apostolic8,0270.00.17,6610.00.1+366
Other Nature Religions6,8890.00.09,4410.00.0-2,552
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Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2011 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 (Usual residence)20162011Change
Religion totalsNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2011 to 2016
Christian total12,202,59552.149.713,150,07861.158.9-947,483
Non Christian total1,922,3418.211.11,547,8067.29.9+374,535
Non-classifiable religious belief143,2580.60.6171,6330.80.8-28,375
No religion7,001,53229.929.94,796,43222.322.2+2,205,100
Not stated2,132,1649.18.61,838,7408.68.2+293,424

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2011 and 2016. Compiled and presented by .id , the population experts.

Religion, 2016
Religion, 2016 Western (Roman) Catholic, Greater Capital Cities: 22.6% Anglican, Greater Capital Cities: 11.0% Uniting Church, Greater Capital Cities: 2.8% Christian,nfd, Greater Capital Cities: 2.7% Islam, Greater Capital Cities: 3.6% 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 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in by .id, the population experts.
Change in religion, 2011 to 2016
Change in religion, 2011 to 2016 Western (Roman) Catholic, Australia: -167,514 Anglican, Australia: -578,500 Uniting Church, Australia: -195,562 Christian,nfd, Australia: +141,467 Islam, Australia: +128,682 Buddhism, Australia: +35,051 Presbyterian and Reformed, Australia: -72,806 Hinduism, Australia: +164,777 Greek Orthodox, Australia: -9,796 Baptist, Australia: -7,337
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2011 and 2016 (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 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 5,229,667 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 3.6%)

Emerging groups

The largest changes in the religious affiliation of the population in Australia between 2011 and 2016 were for those who nominated:

  • Anglican (-578,500 persons)
  • Uniting Church (-195,562 persons)
  • Western (Roman) Catholic (-167,514 persons)
  • Hinduism (+164,777 persons)