AustraliaCommunity profile
census-message-logo

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

Skip to content
census-message-logo

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

In Greater Sydney, the number of non religious persons experienced the greatest change (+425,540) compared to Christians and non Christians in 2016.

Greater Sydney'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.

Greater Sydney'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
Greater Sydney - Total persons (Usual residence)20162011Change
ReligionNumber%Australia %Number%Australia %2011 to 2016
Western (Roman) Catholic1,169,59424.222.31,208,77727.525.1-39,183
Anglican580,34112.013.3707,92816.117.1-127,587
Islam253,4365.32.6208,1234.72.2+45,313
Buddhism186,0373.92.4180,4454.12.5+5,592
Hinduism170,1613.51.9113,3342.61.3+56,827
Greek Orthodox117,0322.41.6119,8602.71.8-2,828
Christian,nfd108,2132.22.674,7331.72.2+33,480
Uniting Church97,1502.03.7124,2172.85.0-27,067
Presbyterian and Reformed95,2992.02.3105,7122.42.8-10,413
Baptist59,8451.21.564,0641.51.6-4,219
Pentecostal52,8191.11.148,2011.11.1+4,618
Judaism35,1960.70.437,9830.90.5-2,787
Maronite Catholic32,7620.70.226,5120.60.1+6,250
Sikhism26,9960.60.518,8150.40.3+8,181
Other Protestant23,5190.50.514,1200.30.3+9,399
Coptic Orthodox16,4850.30.114,6670.30.1+1,818
Macedonian Orthodox16,2140.30.216,0100.40.2+204
Serbian Orthodox15,4570.30.215,3050.30.2+152
Other Non-Christian Religions12,8410.30.19,5300.20.1+3,311
Latter Day Saints (Mormons)12,4340.30.312,3370.30.3+97
Jehova's Witnesses11,8120.20.412,8270.30.4-1,015
Seventh Day Adventist11,3620.20.311,6650.30.3-303
Assyrian Apostolic10,9220.20.18,6870.20.0+2,235
Other Eastern Catholic10,7650.20.15,9360.10.1+4,829
Lutheran9,7330.20.716,9570.41.2-7,224
Other Eastern Orthodox8,6490.20.124,2700.60.3-15,621
Russian Orthodox8,2520.20.18,5400.20.1-288
Salvation Army5,9910.10.27,6980.20.3-1,707
Armenian Apostolic5,7430.10.05,4870.10.0+256
Churches of Christ4,5020.10.25,0420.10.2-540
Baha'i3,7760.10.13,6850.10.1+91
Other Oriental Orthodox3,4370.10.12,7320.10.0+705
Brethren3,2120.10.13,7570.10.1-545
Other Christian3,1450.10.14,8770.10.1-1,732
Chinese and Japanese Religions1,9450.00.01,6200.00.0+325
Paganism1,7420.00.12,2980.10.1-556
Spiritualism1,5200.00.01,6270.00.1-107
Christadelphian1,5070.00.01,6770.00.0-170
Other Nature Religions7980.00.01,3090.00.0-511
Wiccan/Witchcraft7210.00.01,0610.00.0-340
Australian Aboriginal Traditional Religions5030.00.03800.00.0+123
Show me more!

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
Greater Sydney - Total persons (Usual residence)20162011Change
Religion totalsNumber%Australia %Number%Australia %2011 to 2016
Christian total2,496,19651.752.12,672,59560.961.1-176,399
Non Christian total695,67214.48.2580,21013.27.2+115,462
Non-classifiable religious belief23,3640.50.628,0580.60.8-4,694
No religion1,200,50424.929.9774,96417.622.3+425,540
Not stated408,2578.59.1335,8077.68.6+72,450

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% Islam, Australia: 2.6% Buddhism, Australia: 2.4% Hinduism, Australia: 1.9% Greek Orthodox, Australia: 1.6% Christian,nfd, Australia: 2.6% Uniting Church, Australia: 3.7% Presbyterian and Reformed, Australia: 2.3% Baptist, Australia: 1.5% Western (Roman) Catholic, Greater Sydney: 24.2% Anglican, Greater Sydney: 12.0% Islam, Greater Sydney: 5.3% Buddhism, Greater Sydney: 3.9% Hinduism, Greater Sydney: 3.5% Greek Orthodox, Greater Sydney: 2.4% Christian,nfd, Greater Sydney: 2.2% Uniting Church, Greater Sydney: 2.0% Presbyterian and Reformed, Greater Sydney: 2.0% Baptist, Greater Sydney: 1.2%
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, Greater Sydney: -39,183 Anglican, Greater Sydney: -127,587 Islam, Greater Sydney: +45,313 Buddhism, Greater Sydney: +5,592 Hinduism, Greater Sydney: +56,827 Greek Orthodox, Greater Sydney: -2,828 Christian,nfd, Greater Sydney: +33,480 Uniting Church, Greater Sydney: -27,067 Presbyterian and Reformed, Greater Sydney: -10,413 Baptist, Greater Sydney: -4,219
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 Greater Sydney in 2016 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, 66.2% of the population nominated a religion, and 24.9% said they had no religion, compared with 60.4% and 29.9% respectively for Australia.

The largest single religion in Greater Sydney was Western (Roman) Catholic, with 24.2% of the population or 1,169,594 people as adherents.

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

  • A larger percentage who nominated Islam (5.3% compared to 2.6%)
  • A larger percentage who nominated Western (Roman) Catholic (24.2% compared to 22.3%)
  • A larger percentage who nominated Hinduism (3.5% compared to 1.9%)
  • A smaller percentage who nominated Uniting Church (2.0% compared to 3.7%)

Emerging groups

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

  • Anglican (-127,587 persons)
  • Hinduism (+56,827 persons)
  • Islam (+45,313 persons)
  • Western (Roman) Catholic (-39,183 persons)
v17.11.23-1.0.0