Hinduism Fastest Growing Religion in Australia
Hinduism is the fastest growing religion in Australia. Not surprising, if recent immigration figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) are considered. The ABS report had found that Indians are the fastest-growing ethnic communities in Australia. Data from the last Census of Population and Housing held in 2011 reveals the social-cultural shift in Australian society and the growing influence of migrant Indians and their religious beliefs on the country’s socio-cultural environment. Interestingly, however, the 2011 Census found that more Australians than ever are identifying themselves as having “no religious” affiliations.
According to data from the 2011 Census, the most commonly reported religion in Australia remains Christianity. The number of people reporting affiliation to Christianity has, however, actually gone down from 63.9 per cent in 2006 to 61.1 per cent in 2011. Relatively, there is an increase in the population not reporting Christian as their faith. The figure has seen growth from 36.1 per cent in 2006 to 38.9 per cent in 2011.
The number of people reporting
'No religion,” meanwhile saw a significantly increase from 18.7 per cent in 2006
to 22.3 per cent in 2011.
Among non-Christians faiths, the most common religion reported in 2011 was Buddhism among 2.5 per cent of the population. Buddhism is followed by Islam at 2.2 per cent followed by Hinduism at 1.3 per cent.
The 2011 Census finds that Hinduism experienced the fastest rate of growth since 2006. People subscribing to the faith increased from 148,130 to 275,534, followed by Islam from 340,394 to 476,291 and Buddhism from 418,749 to 528,977.
Notably, migrants of all religious beliefs can trace an Indian ancestry. Similarly migrants practicing Hinduism as a faith although may predominantly be from India; they are not limited to India alone. About 85 per cent of Hindus now living in Australia were born overseas in countries including Fiji, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Indonesia and Malaysia apart from India. Interestingly, even aboriginal people were among those who identified themselves as Hindus.
Terming it as a reflection of Australia’s diverse cultural canvas, Andrew Henderson, Executive Director of 2011 Census had then said the: “Census data gives us a critical insight into the diversity of the country and how it has changed over the past five years. We see the changes in our diverse landscape in a number of topics, such as language spoken at home, country of birth and ancestry data, in addition to religion. Census data, including information on Australia’s diverse make-up is vital for helping to plan a brighter future for all Australians.”
Participation is compulsory in
Australia’s census which is undertaken every five years. Response to the question of religious
affiliation, however, is an optional choice, with a sizeable 8.6 per cent of population
not having answered the question.
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