Half of Australia identifies as Christian

identifying as Christian

Archbishop Mark Coleridge says despite a fall in the number of Australians identifying as Christian, fifty percent still identify as such.

That means Jesus’s voice remains prominent in Australia, Coleridge says.

Data from the 2021 census has just been released by the Bureau of Statistics. It includes figures on religious affiliation which show Catholics now make up 20 per cent of the population. That’s down from 22.6 per cent in 2016.

Nevertheless Catholics, at almost 5.1 million people, remain the largest religious group in Australia, followed by Anglicans at 10 per cent.

The combined Christian population is now 44 per cent. Those professing no religion comprise 39 per cent of those who answered the question on the census.

Coleridge says the decline in Catholic numbers is “no great surprise”.

“It’s been clear for some time that the Church is no longer the power in the land we once were.

“But we remain a large minority engaged far and wide in service of the community,” including in education, social services, health and aged care – as well as parish life.

“Almost half the population still identify as Christian, which means that Jesus is very much part of the mix in the Australian soul.

“That means his will remain a key voice as we work together to shape the life of the nation into the future.”

The Census data already released shows that the number of Australians born overseas continues to grow, which brings with it increased cultural and religious diversity.

Coleridge says many immigrants are Catholics, and “the Catholic community has been greatly enriched by people coming to Australia from elsewhere”.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s National Centre for Pastoral Research will begin analysing the data for those who self-identified as Catholics in the census.

The research aims to help the Church better understand its people. It will be released, along with other key demographic data, later in the year.


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