Census 2016: Aussies losing their religion
FOR the first time in Australia's history the number of people who claim "no religion" has overtaken Catholics.
The latest Census drop showed those ticking "no religion" rose from 22.6 per cent to 29.6 per cent, while those identifying as Catholic dropped from 25.3 per cent to 22.6 per cent.
The number of Christians in total still made up 52 per cent of the population, but this is much less than the 88 per cent in 1966 and 74 per cent in 1991.
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Islam (2.6 per cent) and Buddhism (2.4 per cent) were the next most common religions reported.
Islam grew from 2.2 per cent in 2011, while Buddhism dropped from 2.5 per cent.
Those who did not answer the question, which is the only non-compulsory question in the Census, was 9.6 per cent, up slightly from 9.2 per cent in 2011.
Hinduism had the most significant growth between 2006 and 2016, driven by immigration from South Asia.
Those reporting no religion increased noticeably from 19 per cent in 2006 to 30 per cent in 2016. The largest change was between 2011 (22 per cent) and 2016, when an additional 2.2 million people reported having no religion.
How likely a person was to identify as religious in 2016 had a lot to do with their age.
Young adults aged 18-34 were more likely to be affiliated with religions other than Christianity (12 per cent) and to report not having a religion (39 per cent) than other adult age groups.
Older age groups, particularly those aged 65 years and over, were more likely to report Christianity.
In terms of states, New South Wales had the highest religious affiliation (66 per cent of people reporting a religious affiliation), while Tasmania (53 per cent) was the lowest.
MAJOR FINDINGS OF THE 2016 CENSUS
* Australia's estimated population at December 31 was 24.4 million people.
* There were 23,717,421 people in Australia on Census night, which included 23,401,892 people who usually live in Australia- an 8.8 per cent increase from 2011. More than 600,000 Australians were travelling overseas.
* NSW remains our most populous state, with 7,480,228 people counted, ahead of Victoria (5,926,624) and Queensland (4,703,193).
* The Australian Capital Territory experienced the largest population growth of any state or territory over the past five years, adding more than 40,000 new residents - an increase of 11 per cent.
* 1.3 million new migrants have come to Australia since 2011, hailing from some of the 180 countries of birth recorded in the Census, with China (191,000) and India (163,000) being the most common countries of birth of new arrivals.