Secularists welcome the results of the Australian Census 2021, following a publicity campaign mounted by Humanists Victoria, in coalition with Humanists Australia, Atheist Foundation of Australia, National Secular Lobby, Rationalist Society of Australia and Sydney Atheists. The campaign urged non-religious people to mark ‘No Religion’ on the Census, and in fact the proportion of people declaring they were not religious increased considerably.
Campaign spokesperson Michael Dove said, it added further urgency to the need for key institutions of Australia’s democracy to modernize and become more inclusive of non-religious people. He reflected that religion continues to have a privileged place in Australian society, with religious organizations receiving an unfair amount of public funding and tax concessions, and enjoying an inflated influence on government and the media.
The following figures are taken from several documents published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
|Religious affiliation, Count of persons and proportions for 1996, 2016 and 2021|
|No religion, so described (71)||2,948,888||16.6%||6,933,708||29.6%||9,767,448||38.4%|
|Secular beliefs (72)||Included||67,592||0.3%||73,548||0.3%|
|Other spiritual beliefs (73)||in above||39,417||0.2%||45,967||0.2%|
|No answer or unclear||1,568,959||8.8%||2,238,735||9.6%||1,848,424||7.3%|
(72) Viz, Agnostic, Atheist, Humanist, Rationalist. (73) New Age, etc.
The ‘Mark No Religion’ campaign was remarkably effective or remarkably timely. Comparing the figures of the last two censuses: the Australian population grew over the five years by 2.0 million, largely due to the increase of class (71), 2.8 million, moderated by the decline of the religious, -0.4 million, and the decline of the undeclared, also -0.4 million.