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Losing our religion

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August 11, 2017

ABS census data reveals more people declared ‘‘no religion’’ in last year’s census.

The city has become less religious in the past five years, with more than a quarter of Greater Shepparton declaring ‘no religion’ last year.

About 5200 additional residents in Greater Shepparton identified with ‘‘no religion’’ in last year’s census, according to analysis of ABS census data by .id economics.

This equates to more than 17400 people, or more than 27 per cent of the population, lower than the non-religious proportion of Victoria (32 per cent).

‘‘In the City of Greater Shepparton, the number of non-religious persons experienced the greatest change compared to Christians and non-Christians in 2016,’’ .id found.

This marks a sharp increase on the 20 per cent of residents with ‘no religion’ in 2011.

More than 50 per cent of Greater Shepparton belongs to a denomination of Christianity.

Almost a quarter of the city identified as Western (Roman) Catholic — the largest single religion in the city, but with about 1000 fewer identifying with the religion than in 2011.

Eleven per cent identified as Anglican, about 1500 fewer than five years ago, while six per cent identified with Uniting Church, about 1200 fewer people than the previous census.

More than five per cent of Greater Shepparton identify as Muslim, compared with 0.7 per cent across regional Victoria.

Greater Shepparton has also seen an increase in Sikhs, Buddhists and Hindus over the past five years, with 1.3 per cent of the city nominating Sikhism, compared with 0.2 per cent across regional Victoria.

About 10 per cent of residents (or about 6800) did not state their religion, a slight increase on the 2011 census.

Compared with regional Victoria, a higher proportion of people in Greater Shepparton professed a religion, .id found.

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