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

In South Australia, the number of non religious persons experienced the greatest change (+151,274) compared to Christians and non Christians in 2016.

South 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.

South 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
South Australia - Total persons (Usual residence)20162011Change
ReligionNumber%Australia %Number%Australia %2011 to 2016
Western (Roman) Catholic299,39617.922.3317,00919.925.1-17,613
Anglican167,65810.013.3200,41912.617.1-32,761
Uniting Church118,2297.13.7142,3958.95.0-24,166
Lutheran51,7053.10.771,4164.51.2-19,711
Christian,nfd46,5312.82.636,7232.32.2+9,808
Greek Orthodox34,9992.11.636,8022.31.8-1,803
Buddhism31,2891.92.429,0451.82.5+2,244
Islam28,5471.72.619,5381.22.2+9,009
Baptist26,4761.61.527,1801.71.6-704
Hinduism22,9221.41.913,6160.91.3+9,306
Pentecostal19,0331.11.119,3421.21.1-309
Presbyterian and Reformed17,7831.12.320,3071.32.8-2,524
Sikhism8,8080.50.55,3010.30.3+3,507
Other Protestant6,5840.40.53,0150.20.3+3,569
Jehova's Witnesses5,8270.30.46,3020.40.4-475
Churches of Christ4,8660.30.26,0740.40.2-1,208
Salvation Army4,0970.20.25,0790.30.3-982
Serbian Orthodox3,4720.20.23,6430.20.2-171
Latter Day Saints (Mormons)3,1980.20.33,4030.20.3-205
Christadelphian2,9010.20.02,8840.20.0+17
Seventh Day Adventist2,7380.20.32,6200.20.3+118
Other Non-Christian Religions1,9670.10.11,7240.10.1+243
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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
South Australia - Total persons (Usual residence)20162011Change
Religion totalsNumber%Australia %Number%Australia %2011 to 2016
Christian total823,63849.152.1914,35957.361.1-90,721
Non Christian total100,1776.08.277,2564.87.2+22,921
Non-classifiable religious belief11,0130.70.613,7210.90.8-2,708
No religion599,77035.829.9448,49628.122.3+151,274
Not stated142,0498.59.1142,7568.98.6-707

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, Australia: 22.3% Anglican, Australia: 13.3% Uniting Church, Australia: 3.7% Lutheran, Australia: 0.7% Christian,nfd, Australia: 2.6% Greek Orthodox, Australia: 1.6% Buddhism, Australia: 2.4% Islam, Australia: 2.6% Baptist, Australia: 1.5% Hinduism, Australia: 1.9% Western (Roman) Catholic, South Australia: 17.9% Anglican, South Australia: 10.0% Uniting Church, South Australia: 7.1% Lutheran, South Australia: 3.1% Christian,nfd, South Australia: 2.8% Greek Orthodox, South Australia: 2.1% Buddhism, South Australia: 1.9% Islam, South Australia: 1.7% Baptist, South Australia: 1.6% Hinduism, South Australia: 1.4%
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2016 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, the population experts.
Change in religion, 2011 to 2016
Change in religion, 2011 to 2016 Western (Roman) Catholic, South Australia: -17,613 Anglican, South Australia: -32,761 Uniting Church, South Australia: -24,166 Lutheran, South Australia: -19,711 Christian,nfd, South Australia: +9,808 Greek Orthodox, South Australia: -1,803 Buddhism, South Australia: +2,244 Islam, South Australia: +9,009 Baptist, South Australia: -704 Hinduism, South Australia: +9,306
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2011 and 2016 (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 South Australia in 2016 compared to Australia shows that there was a lower proportion of people who professed a religion and a higher proportion who stated they had no religion.

Overall, 55.1% of the population nominated a religion, and 35.8% said they had no religion, compared with 60.4% and 29.9% respectively for Australia.

The largest single religion in South Australia was Western (Roman) Catholic, with 17.9% of the population or 299,396 people as adherents.

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

  • A larger percentage who nominated Uniting Church (7.1% compared to 3.7%)
  • A larger percentage who nominated Lutheran (3.1% compared to 0.7%)
  • A smaller percentage who nominated Western (Roman) Catholic (17.9% compared to 22.3%)
  • A smaller percentage who nominated Anglican (10.0% compared to 13.3%)

Emerging groups

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

  • Anglican (-32,761 persons)
  • Uniting Church (-24,166 persons)
  • Lutheran (-19,711 persons)
  • Western (Roman) Catholic (-17,613 persons)
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