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In New South Wales, the number of non religious persons experienced the greatest change (+308,929) compared to non Christians and Christians in 2011.

New South Wales'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.

New South Wales'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
New South Wales - Total persons (Usual residence)20112006Change
ReligionNumber%Australia %Number%Australia %2006 to 2011
Western (Roman) Catholic1,869,49927.025.11,811,43427.725.6+58,065
Anglican1,378,37319.917.11,423,19021.818.7-44,817
Uniting Church271,0993.95.0298,9754.65.7-27,876
Islam219,3533.22.2168,5302.61.7+50,823
Presbyterian and Reformed211,9593.12.8218,8413.33.0-6,882
Buddhism201,0532.92.5167,7982.62.1+33,255
Greek Orthodox131,5871.91.8129,8752.01.9+1,712
Christian,nfd123,7771.82.286,7381.31.6+37,039
Hinduism119,8431.71.373,7171.10.7+46,126
Baptist99,9061.41.696,3981.51.6+3,508
Pentecostal71,4611.01.168,8221.11.1+2,639
Judaism39,6690.60.536,7000.60.4+2,969
Lutheran33,0980.51.235,2600.51.3-2,162
Other Eastern Orthodox29,3560.40.329,7180.50.3-362
Maronite Catholic26,7330.40.126,3460.40.1+387
Jehova's Witnesses23,9170.30.422,5820.30.4+1,335
Macedonian Orthodox23,4910.30.220,6990.30.2+2,792
Seventh Day Adventist23,4440.30.321,6870.30.3+1,757
Sikhism21,7480.30.311,6180.20.1+10,130
Salvation Army18,9760.30.320,4160.30.3-1,440
Other Protestant18,6020.30.317,2440.30.3+1,358
Serbian Orthodox17,6880.30.216,6960.30.2+992
Latter Day Saints (Mormons)16,4030.20.315,8090.20.3+594
Coptic Orthodox15,1250.20.112,8300.20.1+2,295
Other Non-Christian Religions10,7600.20.18,2690.10.1+2,491
Russian Orthodox9,5380.10.18,8940.10.1+644
Assyrian Apostolic8,7190.10.07,0110.10.0+1,708
Churches of Christ7,9210.10.29,5400.10.3-1,619
Brethren7,3550.10.17,7460.10.1-391
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Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2006 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
New South Wales - Total persons (Usual residence)20112006Change
Religion totalsNumber%Australia %Number%Australia %2006 to 2011
Christian total4,462,16364.561.14,429,32267.763.9+32,841
Non Christian total632,6509.17.2484,1477.45.6+148,503
Non-classifiable religious belief47,7910.70.836,8140.60.7+10,977
No religion1,240,53917.922.3931,61014.218.7+308,929
Not stated534,4727.78.6657,04610.011.2-122,574

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2006 and 2011. Compiled and presented by .id , the population experts.

Religion, 2011
Religion, 2011 Western (Roman) Catholic, Australia: 25.1% Anglican, Australia: 17.1% Uniting Church, Australia: 5.0% Islam, Australia: 2.2% Presbyterian and Reformed, Australia: 2.8% Buddhism, Australia: 2.5% Greek Orthodox, Australia: 1.8% Christian,nfd, Australia: 2.2% Hinduism, Australia: 1.3% Baptist, Australia: 1.6% Western (Roman) Catholic, New South Wales: 27.0% Anglican, New South Wales: 19.9% Uniting Church, New South Wales: 3.9% Islam, New South Wales: 3.2% Presbyterian and Reformed, New South Wales: 3.1% Buddhism, New South Wales: 2.9% Greek Orthodox, New South Wales: 1.9% Christian,nfd, New South Wales: 1.8% Hinduism, New South Wales: 1.7% Baptist, New South Wales: 1.4%
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2011 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, the population experts.
Change in religion, 2006 to 2011
Change in religion, 2006 to 2011 Western (Roman) Catholic, New South Wales: +58,065 Anglican, New South Wales: -44,817 Uniting Church, New South Wales: -27,876 Islam, New South Wales: +50,823 Presbyterian and Reformed, New South Wales: -6,882 Buddhism, New South Wales: +33,255 Greek Orthodox, New South Wales: +1,712 Christian,nfd, New South Wales: +37,039 Hinduism, New South Wales: +46,126 Baptist, New South Wales: +3,508
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2006 and 2011 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, the population experts.

Dominant groups

Analysis of the religious affiliation of the population of New South Wales in 2011 compared to Australia shows that there was a higher proportion of people who professed a religion and a lower proportion who stated they had no religion.

Overall, 73.6% of the population nominated a religion, and 17.9% said they had no religion, compared with 68.3% and 22.3% respectively for Australia.

The largest single religion in New South Wales was Western (Roman) Catholic, with 27.0% of the population or 1,869,499 people as adherents.

The major differences between the religious affiliation for the population of New South Wales and Australia were:

  • A larger percentage who nominated Anglican (19.9% compared to 17.1%)
  • A larger percentage who nominated Western (Roman) Catholic (27.0% compared to 25.1%)
  • A smaller percentage who nominated Uniting Church (3.9% compared to 5.0%)

Emerging groups

The largest changes in the religious affiliation of the population in New South Wales between 2006 and 2011 were for those who nominated:

  • Western (Roman) Catholic (+58,065 persons)
  • Islam (+50,823 persons)
  • Hinduism (+46,126 persons)
  • Anglican (-44,817 persons)
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