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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Religion in Australia mapped


Now for an interactive map that lets you browse the religious landscape of Australia. Each suburb in Australia has been classified based on its religious make-up. The classification is designed to highlight where there is particular concentrations of certain religions. It has looser requirements for rarer Australian faiths such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Areas classified with common groups such as Catholicism, Anglicanism and non-religious demographics have stricter criteria and require significant proportions of residents.

The colour classifications

The map uses color classifications to identify particularly notable religions in a geographical area. The areas without a colour classification are simply not worth classifying with a single religion - because no religion is dominant enough in these areas to highlight.


The map

The interactive map is below. Clicking on a suburb reveals more details. All of Australia is covered therefore the map can be navigated as necessary. Across the whole of Australia, the five most common responses were:
  • Catholic 25.3%
  • No Religion 22.3%
  • Anglican 17.1%
  • Uniting Church 5.0% 
  • Presbyterian and Reformed 2.8% (categorised as Christian (Other) here).



Some observations from the map:
  • Sydney (click the link to open a new window/tab) has a fairly large amount of religious clusters:
    • Areas with 30-40% Islamic residents in the west, including Auburn and Greenacre
    • Areas with over 40% Buddhists around Canley Vale in the city's west
    • Almost half of the residents are Jewish around Dover Heights
    • Hindu
    • There is a substantial Eastern Orthodox population to the south of the CBD around Rockdale/Banksia
    • Inner city residents have more of a tendency to be non-religious
    • The dominant faith in the remaining suburbs is Catholicism
  • Melbourne also has a number of religious clusters:
    • Substantial Islamic clusters exist around Meadow Heights in the north-west and Dandenong in the south east
    • There are two Buddhist clusters; one around Sunshine in the west of the city and another around Springvale in the south-east.
    • A few Eastern Orthodox clusters exist in the east of the city, for example, the Oakleigh/Huntingdale area
    • The two most dominant groups overall are the Catholics and the non-religious residents. There appears to be more Catholics in the west and more non-religious residents in the east of the city.
  • Brisbane has a more even spread than Sydney and Melbourne.
    • The non-religious dominate the inner city
    • The largest groups in the suburbs are generally Catholics
    • The only substantial minority cluster is in Kuraby, where 21% of residents are Islamic
  • Perth follows a similar pattern to Brisbane in that the inner city is dominated by younger, non-religious residents and the suburbs tend to be either dominated by Catholics (or fairly evenly spread)
  • The inner-west and inner-west of Adelaide are dominated by large proportions of Catholics.
    • There is a cluster of Eastern Orthodox in the inner-west city centre area of Richmond
    • The remainder of the CBD and suburbs are dominated by the non-religious demographic
  • Rural and regional Australia contains a broad mix:
    • Religions such as Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are very rare compared to the large cities
    • Anglicanism is extremely popular across broad swathes of the country, particularly in rural New South Wales and Queensland
    • In some areas, such as APY Lands, the dominant faith is traditional Aboriginal religion
    • As with the cities, Catholicism and non-religious demographics remain very common in rural Australia
Data is provided from the 2011 census undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. If you would like to read more about Religion and the 2011 Australian Census, click here to read a previous post on the subject.

18 comments:

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Unknown said...

Thank you for this post - so helpful and insightful!

Is there a possibility that you will do an updated one for the 2016 census stats?

Humaun Kabir said...

Thanks for the great post on your blog, it really gives me an insight on this topic.

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