This is the first time in Australian history that people with no religion will outrank Catholicism.
The latest census showed that those who ticked “no religion” rose from 22.6 per cent to 29.6 per cent, while Catholicism dropped from 25.3 percent to 22.6 percent. The number of Christians in Australia remained at a steady 52 percent of the population. However, this is a massive drop from 88 percent in 1966 and 74 percent in 1991.
Despite conservative concerns about the growing number of Muslims in Australia, the number has grown only 2.2 per cent since 2011.
This census has been a contentious subject, with many afraid that Australia is fast becoming a “Muslim country”. An email was circulated urging people to refrain from opting for the “no religion” choice as it would give ”prominence” to Muslims in Australia.
The census concluded that Hinduism showed the biggest increase from 2006 to 2016, and was believed to be driven by immigration from South Asia.
Though there was a rise in non-religious Australians, Australia remains a predominantly religious country. With 60 percent reporting to be affiliated with a religion.
Kylie Surgess from The Atheist Foundation of Australia believes religion should be eliminated from cultural, political and business sectors, saying the policy should be based on scientific evidence rather than religion.
This includes policy on abortion, marriage equality, voluntary euthanasia, religious education in state schools and anything else where religious beliefs hold undue influence.
She believes that politicians and Australian leaders should take notice of the census’ numbers, and allow those who recognise as non-religious to have more of a voice in leadership and government sectors and policy.
According to the census, New South Wales was the most religious state with 66 percent claiming to be religious. Tasmania had the lowest religion count with only 53 percent recognising as religious.
Australia's population is estimated 24.4 million people.
Find out more about Australia from the Census here.