Religion contributes $67.5 billion to Canadian economy

religion contributes

A Canadian study has calculated religion contributes $67.5 billion a year to the country’s economy.

The study by the think tank Cardus set out to measure the economic impact of all organized religion in the country. It is the first study of its type in Canada.

It calculated the annual revenues of every single church, religious school and charitable organization, health-care institutions and religious-based media. That resulted in a figure of just under $31 billion.

Added to that is a further $37 billion in “halo effects.” This tallies up the economic impact of things such as substance-abuse support, or kosher and halal food sales.

To come up with its estimates, Cardus trawled through charitable returns, school and religious health-care financial documents and religious publication revenues.

Of the direct economic contribution of $31 billion, the largest share is from publicly funded Catholic schools totalling $14.5 billion.

The next most significant economic outlay is congregation revenue at $7 billion, then health care at $4.7 billion. The remainder is made up by independent schools, charities, higher education and religious media.

“Religion is an active force in the public, professional and private lives of many Canadians and contributes to the common good of all, including those who are not religious,” says Brian Dijkema, vice-president of external relations at Cardus.

There is a growing number of atheists, agnostics, and those not identifying with any religion in Canada. This figure is 29%, up from just 4% in 1971. Still, 65% of the population identifies with one religion or another.

Christians comprise 55% of Canada’s 37 million people, with Roman Catholicism being the single largest denomination with 14 million followers.

Non-Christian faiths – such as Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam and Buddhism – account for eight per cent of all believers.

The study doesn’t consider all potential effects of faith, though. Christmas, for example, is worth about $10 billion to the Canadian economy, but Cardus ignores it, since it is not necessarily directly attributable to faith.

Cardus also cautions that the study doesn’t account for some of the negative influences of religious life. The authors highlight the ongoing clergy sex abuse crisis and religious extremism.


La Croix International



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