Department of Family and Community Services

Religion

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Historically, Christianity has held a firm place in Australian society. Whilst the percentage of Christians has experienced a slow decline over the years, Christianity was the religious affiliation reported by over two-thirds of women in 2011. Some 4.5 million adherents reside in NSW of whom 2.3 million are women.

As the state has become increasingly culturally diverse so too has the faith of its residents. Among Christians, Catholicism accounts for 28 percent of women, Anglicanism 21 percent and other Christian denomination make up 18 percent of women (see Figure 1.8). The number of adherents for several Christian denominations has decreased in the last decades. Most noticeably the number of female Anglicans has dropped 7.5 percent in the last decade, whereas the number of female Catholics has increased 5.0 percent.

There has been an even greater increase in the number of other religions. The past decade has seen a 129 percent increase in the number of women practising Hinduism, 59 percent in Islam, 43 percent in Buddhism and 14 percent in Judaism. These increases have resulted in Christianity dropping from 73 percent of the population in 2001 to 67 percent of the population in 2011. See Table 1.5.

From 2001 to 2011 there was also a significant increase (72 percent) in the number of women with no religion. There are a larger number of men with no religion than women, 662,700 compared with 577,800 or 19 percent of men and 16 percent of women. More men also practise Islam than women and more women practise Buddhism than men.

Population: All women living in NSW.

Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing 2011.

Figure 1.8 Religious affiliation of NSW women, 2011

Fig 1.8

Population: All women living in NSW.

Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing 2011.