Yes, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 43% of the Australian population identify as Chrsitian. Although 52% Australians identified as Christian in 2016, the 2021 census reported a drop from 12.2 million to 11.1 million. 

Australia is a diverse nation with a rich tapestry of beliefs and has seen significant shifts in its religious landscape over the years. Historically Christianity has played a dominant role in the country’s cultural and societal fabric. However recent data suggests a more complex picture.

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Christianity’s Apparent Decline

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Christianity has seen a decrease in its followers. From 2016 to 2021 the number of people affiliated with Christianity in Australia dropped from 12.2 million (52.1%) to 11.1 million (43.9%). This decline is evident across most age groups with young adults (18-25 years) showing the largest decrease.

The two largest Christian denominations Anglican and Catholicism have also seen a decline. In 2021.  Catholicism decreased to 20% (from 22.6% in 2016) and Anglican affiliation dropped from 13.3% to 9.8% of the population.

Understanding Religious Affiliation

The Census religion question is designed to capture a person’s religious affiliation which may differ from their practice or participation in a religious activity. The Census also allows people to respond with secular or spiritual beliefs and to indicate if they have no religious affiliation at all.

Religious Affiliation in 2021

In 2021 the most common religions in Australia were:

  • Christianity (43.9%)
  • No religion (38.9%)
  • Islam (3.2%)
  • Hinduism (2.7%)
  • Buddhism (2.4%)

Migration and Religious Affiliation

Australia’s religious profile has been shaped by waves of migration. Christianity was introduced by the British in the late 18th Century. Other significant migrations that impacted the religious landscape include British and Irish free settlers in the 1800s and early 1900s, post World War II migrants from Europe in the 1940s and 1950s, refugees from the Middle East in the 1960s, refugees from Southeast Asia in the 1970s and humanitarian entrants from Africa and Middle East as well as skilled migrants from North East and Southern Asia in the 2000s.

Rise of Non-denominational Christianity

While many Christian denominations are declining there has been a rise in non-denominational Christianity. From 2016 to 2021 the highest increase was in responses coded to the supplementary category, Christianity nfd (not further defined). In 2021 most of this group were people who answered “Christian” or “Christianity” to the religion question.

Growth in Affiliation with Other Religions

In 2021 over 2.5 million people reported an affiliation with Other religions an increase of over 600 thousand since 2016. The main religions in this category were Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

No Religion in 2021

From 1971 to 2021 the proportion of people reporting to have no religion in Australia steadily increased. In 2021 the proportion was 38.9% an increase from 30.1% in 2016. This indicates a shift away from religious and spiritual viewpoints either expressing beliefs outside of traditional religious settings or not holding a religious or spiritual viewpoint at all.

Rise of Other Religions and No Religion


While Christianity has experienced a decline in Australia other religions and the category of “No Religion” have witnessed significant growth. In 2021 a notable 38.9% of Australians reported having no religious affiliation marking a substantial increase from 30.1% in 2016. This trend suggests a discernible shift away from traditional religious beliefs towards more secular perspectives.

Furthermore religions such as Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism have seen an uptick in followers. This growth can be attributed to Australia’s diverse migration patterns which have brought a myriad of cultural and religious influences to the country.

Australia’s Evolving Religious Landscape

Australia's Religious Landscape - Person contemplating

Several factors have played a pivotal role in shaping Australia’s religious profile:

  • Migration Patterns: Australia’s religious tapestry has been intricately woven by successive waves of migration. While the British introduced Christianity in the late 18th Century, subsequent influxes of migrants from Europe the Middle East, Southeast Asia and other regions have each contributed their unique religious beliefs and practices. For instance the post World War II era saw a surge of European migrants while more recent decades have witnessed an increase in migrants from Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
  • Census Changes: The manner in which the Census has presented the “No religion” option has undergone changes over the years. This evolution could have influenced the rising number of responses in this category. For instance positioning the “No religion” option at the top of the list in recent censuses might have made it more visible and accessible to respondents.
  • Cultural Shifts: There’s an emerging trend where individuals are identifying more broadly with Christianity rather than aligning with specific Christian denominations. This could be a reflection of a more inclusive approach to religious identity or a move away from institutionalised forms of worship.
  • Global Secularisation: The rise in secular beliefs isn’t unique to Australia. Globally there’s a trend of increasing secularisation, especially in Western countries. This could be influenced by factors such as increased access to education the influence of technology and social media and changing societal norms.

Final thoughts

While Christianity continues to hold a prominent place in Australia’s religious landscape the nation is undeniably becoming more religiously diverse. The increasing number of individuals identifying with other religions or eschewing religious affiliation altogether underscores a shift in societal beliefs and values. As Australia progresses into the future it stands as a testament to the confluence of cultures and religions, mirroring its rich history and the multifaceted influences of its diverse populace.


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