Patterns in Religion Adherence

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Patterns in religious adherence have been steadily changing since the 1947 Australian census. The most noticeable difference is in the constant drop in the number of people that identify themselves as belonging to the Anglican church- an average of 2% every 5 years. In 1947 39% of the entire population claimed to be Anglican and by 2011 that number declined to 17.1%.

Although Christianity is still the most popular religion in Australia the overall number of adherents has dropped from 88% to 63%. After World war 2, Australia saw an increase in many denominations in Christianity. More traditional churches such as the uniting church and the Presbyterian and reformed churches all experienced a downturn, losing 14.9% and 11.7%. The newer Pentecostal movement gained momentum with a 25.7% increase since 1996. Catholic, Baptist and orthodox churches also saw significant increase and gained 6.8%, 7.3% and 9.5% respectively.

In Australia, 1947, 0.5% claimed to belong to a religion other than Christianity, but in 2006 increased to 5.6%. Buddhism 2.1% Hinduism 0.7%, Islam 1.7% Judaism 0.4% and other religions 0.5%. Hinduism was the fastest growing religion with a rate of 120.2% Buddhism and Islam also grew quickly. The other religions category rose 58.8% (includes spiritualism, wicca and Swedenborg) Judaism gained 11.3% which is smaller than the other religion but still significant and Australian aboriginal traditional religion had a decrease losing 29% between 1996 and 2001.

Immigration has been the most dramatic effect leading to an increase in some groups and the decline of other. Other reasons are the movement from one denomination to another, seeking answers in new religious or spiritual movements and an increase in those who acknowledge that they have no religion. Besides Israel Australia has taken in more immigrants (relative existing population) than any other country in the world. Because of this there are now 14 orthodox denominations in Australia and...
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