Statistics Canada, the national statistical office for the nation, just came out with a new report detailing the religious landscape over the past few decades (since 1985).
The biggest takeaway? In 2019, the final year they had information for, religious affiliation was at a record low 68%. At the same time, fewer people are attending religious services and fewer people think religion is important.
All huge steps in the right direction.
It’s the first time that fewer than 70 per cent of Canadians reported being religiously affiliated since StatCan began tracking the data in 1985. Between 2000 and 2017, the percentage of religiously affiliated Canadians hovered around 77 to 82 per cent, before declining to 75 per cent in 2018.
Only 23 per cent of Canadians in 2019 reported attending group religious activities, such as church service, at least once a month. Between 2000 and 2009, that figure was around 30 per cent.
StatCan also found that religion was becoming less important for more Canadians. The percentage of people who reported that religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat important or very important was 54 per cent in 2019. In the mid-2000s, it was around 70 per cent.
Not surprisingly, younger people are less religious, as are Canadian-born people. That creates a bit of tension since younger people (obviously) make up a larger percentage of the population in the future — but immigration is also on the rise.
One other thing to keep in mind: The percentage of Canadian “Nones” may actually be an underestimate.
Numbers for this are compiled by asking survey participants, “What is your religion?” It presumes people have a religious faith and it arguably makes people more likely to name the faith they were born into even if they no longer seriously practice it.
If the question was something like, “Do you practice any religion?” — followed up with, “If so, which faith?” — you can see how the results would be much more in favor of non-belief.
Whatever the case, religious influence is on the decline. Good. It doesn’t solve every problem the country faces, but at least religion is less likely to make existing problems worse.
(Thanks to Jason for the link)