Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Census Data - What the Numbers are Saying

I was just browsing some of the recently released data from the 2006 Australian census. Some if it is interesting. Like, for example -

  • The fastest growing religions in Western Australia are Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism- from Hindu: 3,640 , Islam: 12,571 and Buddhism: 18,509 in 1996, to Hindu: 8,156, Islam: 24,185 and Buddhism: 34,349 in 2006.

  • While Pentecostals are often touted as Australia's (perhaps the worlds) fastest growing arm of the church their growth between the years of 1996 and 2006 (by 3746 people) pales into insignificance when compared to the growth exhibited in three non-Christian religions listed above.

  • Less than 20% of people living in the Perth metropolitan area take part in volunteer work, while between 26 and 33% of people living on the south west and south coasts volunteer and and between 33 and 39% if people living on the mid west coast volunteer.

  • Every Christian denomination listed in the 2006 census for the region in which I live (Leschenault) has more female than male affiliates, with the exception of the Catholics who have 40 more male adherents than female.

  • As far as I could tell, every denomination listed shows a marked decrease in affiliation between the ages of 0-14 and 15-24 , with the most drastic decrease being seen in the Catholic church with the difference between the two age groups at the 2006 census being nearly 30,000 for the state of Western Australia.
I don't think there are too many surprises in these figures - but even so, the massive drop off in denominational association between the pre-teen and teen years and the gender imbalance across the board is something worth thinking about.

I also think that if someone bothered to check the figures relating to the growth of Pentecostalism they would find a hole, roughly the same shape and size, in the midst of the other, non-Pentecostal denominations, representing transferred growth rather than "real" growth from new converts. But that's just my hunch!

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