Wednesday, June 28, 2017

GODLESS WEDNESDAY: Australians Becoming Much More Godless!

There's some interesting news out of Australia and the changing (decreasing) prevalence of religiosity among their populace. They conduct a census every 5 years and one of the questions they ask is about religion.

The 2016 results were published this week:
After decades of rapid growth, the number of Australians marking “no religion” on their census forms has for the first time surpassed Catholicism as the most common answer to a prompt in the country's 2016 Census about religion, according to data released Monday. If all Christian denominations are considered together, they would make up just over half of respondents. 
The number of respondents who identified as nonreligious — 30.1 percent — almost doubled from 15.5 percent in 2001. Less than 1 percent identified that way in 1966, the year Australia lifted its “White Australia Policy,” which opened up immigration to non-Europeans and kicked off broader demographic changes. Australia's population has also more than doubled since then.
Hmmm, so we learn several things from this excerpt. First, Australia had a "White Australia Policy" until 1966! Secondly, 30% of Australians identify as essentially irreligious (or "Godless" as we like to say around here). That compares pretty favorably to the rate in the United States, which PRRI estimates to be 25% (in 2016). The following graph also indicates that the growth in the fraction of the population in the United States that is "religiously unaffiliated" has changed dramatically in the last few decades.

Hat/tip to Washington Post and PRRI

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