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Religion in Australia

Population

The first settlement on the Australian continent occurred at least 50,000 years ago (see Prehistory). When the first Europeans arrived in 1788, the indigenous population probably amounted to between 750,000 and 1 million people belonging to about 250 different language groups. The white immigrants named them Aboriginal Australians, Aborigines. According to Countryaah data, almost immediately the number began to decline, mainly as a result of epidemics of smallpox and other diseases against which the urinals had no immunity, but also as a result of fatal conflicts with the whites. In 1920, Aborigines were estimated to be no more than 90,000, perhaps only 50,000. Since the mid-1900s, the number has increased gradually and at the 2006 census, 2.3 percent of the country's residents (about 520,000) stated that they belonged to the indigenous population. This category also includes about 50,000 residents on the islands of Torres strait north of Queensland. They have a different ethnic background.

Religions of Australia

Religions of AustraliaDuring the first sixty years of European immigration, the new settlers came almost exclusively from England, Scotland and Ireland. The first gold rush in 1851 also led to immigration from other parts of Europe and also from America and China. However, from the 1890s there was an immigration policy that allowed only Europeans to settle in Australia. It was not until 1949 that the country was reopened to Asian immigration. It would take until the 1970s and 1980s before immigrants from Japan and Southeast Asian countries were truly welcomed. In recent decades, many immigrants have also come from China.

A quarter of Australia's current population is born in another country. The most common countries of origin for these are the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Italy, China, Vietnam, India, the Philippines and Greece. The move is mainly going to Western Australia, the state that had the fastest population increase in the early 2010s.

In 2019, the population was 25 million. Birth rates have been at just over 1.2 percent per year over the past decade and death rates at about 0.6 percent. Net immigration accounts for more than half the population increase, and it varies between different years. Immigration means that the population as a whole is relatively young.

Even before the first white settlement, the population density was highest on the continent's southeastern part. The white colonization started from there and also got its center of gravity there. In recent decades, the distribution has become somewhat more even, but in 2010, 57 percent of the country's entire population lived in New South Wales and Victoria. Over the past 50 years, especially Queensland and Western Australia have gained a greater share of residents.

In each state there is a strong concentration of population to the metropolitan area, although Queensland and Tasmania have a slightly more dispersed settlement. Australia is one of the world's most urbanized countries, with 86 percent of the population living in cities and other major urban areas. The largest metropolitan areas are Sydney (4.5 million residents in 2015), Melbourne (4.4 million), Brisbane (2.2 million), Perth (2 million) and Adelaide (1.3 million).

Language

The official language is English, which is also the native language of the vast majority of residents. The maximum of 150 remaining Australian languages are used by few Aboriginal groups in Western and Northern Australia, but have no official status in the country. Aboriginal people also speak English-based Creole languages. Important immigrant languages ​​are Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese and Greek.

Religion

Australia is nominally Christian with 75% identifying with any church. Around 15% of the population does not confess to any religion, a figure that is steadily increasing.

Christian culture was largely introduced through European immigration to the colonies of Australia. Out of these, autonomous churches emerged. The English-born Anglican Church used to be the largest, but today comprises only 24%. The Roman Catholic Church has an Irish background; its membership has increased during the 20th century, mainly through immigration from southern Europe, and accounts for 27% of the population. A number of smaller Protestant churches operate in Australia, encompassing about 20% of the population. Uniting Church since 1977 unites Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregationalists. The Orthodox Church has grown to 3%.

The extensive ecumenical work is coordinated through the National Council of Churches in Australia. The larger Protestant churches are also members of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA). World religions Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are increasing and now comprise a total of 3%.

For Australian domestic religion, see Australian religion.

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