Religious affiliation in Melbourne

I couldn’t hold myself back any longer. Despite deliberately making the shift from Geography to Anthropology to strengthen my qualitative research skills (basically, anything that’s non-numerical), I’ve just given in to the urge to look at some statistics. So I may as well share what I’ve found!

  • At the time of the 2006 Census, there were approx 3,371,887 people living in the Urban Locaility of Melbourne;
  • 63% of them were born in Australia, 23% were born overseas in a non-English speaking country, 6% were born overseas in an English speaking country (a further 7% inadequately described or didn’t state where they were born)
  • Of the 784,233 persons living in Melbourne and born overseas in a non-English speaking country 58% were Christians. That’s only marginally lower than the 63% of Australian-born Melbournians who claim Christian affiliation.
  • Of the 1,345,858 people who claim Christian affiliation in Melbourne, 23% were born overseas in a non-English speaking country. That’s exactly the same proportion as in the city overall.
  • Interestingly, while 23% of the Australian born population deliberately state they have no religious affiliation, that figure is only 12% for those born overseas in non-English speaking countries.
  • And in contrast, while 6% of the Australian born population is affiliated with non-Christian religions, that figure is 26% for those born overseas in non-English speaking countries.
  • There’s a group of over 11,000 people who declined to record either their country of birth or their religious affiliation.

Do any of those figures surprise you?

I used the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ CData Online to cross-tabulate Country of Birth with Religious Affiliation for the Urban Locality of Melbourne. I customised the country of birth and religion categories. You can download the file I created HERE to get both the numbers and full details on the categories I created, as well as my calculations of percentages.

The formal citation is: ABS (2006) ‘Religious Affiliation (RELP) by Urban Centre/Locality (UCL) and Country of Birth of Person (BPLP), Counting: Persons, Place of Usual Residence’, accessed from CData online, catalogue number 2064.0 <http://www.abs.gov.au/CDATAOnline&gt;

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