Australians ditch religion at rapid rate, becoming more diverse

The full results of last year's bungled census are set to be released on Tuesday

The full results of last year's bungled census are set to be released on Tuesday

Perth's outer southeast is the fastest growing region in Australia with the population more than doubling in the last six years, according to the figures from the latest national Census.

The 2016 Census figures also showed a significant drop in the number of Australians (57.7 per cent) who still identified as Christian amid a long-term trend of falling religious affiliation.

Melbourne is set to overtake Sydney as Australia's most populous city; for the first time in history the majority of us born overseas are from Asia not Europe; and there has been a 39 per cent surge in the number of people declaring themselves in a same-sex relationship.

New Australians from Pakistan (up 116 per cent) and India (up 65 per cent) helped drive up the number of Hindus, which grew by 84 per cent, Sikhs, up by 142 per cent, and Muslims which lifted by 29 per cent. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) pulse has also updated the estimated resident population in Australia, which has become a home to 24.4 million people by December 31, 2016.

Mandarin is spoken by 2.2 per cent of Australians, up from 1.6 per cent, and Arabic by 1.4 per, up from 1.3 per cent.

Seven in ten Australians live in a capital city.

The proportion of respondents allowing the ABS to archive their data for 99 years fell from 63 per cent in 2011 to 50 per cent in 2016, despite having previously been on an upward trend. It's been kept relatively young by Asian-born immigrants - median age 35 years - compared with Europe - median age 59 years.

While much of the Census data on housing, population and demographics is now available from the Australia Bureau of Statistics, the advanced tools like TableBuilder and DataPacks are set for release in July 2017. The rates of volunteering are highest among women aged 35 to 44 at 399,889 people and overall, the rates of volunteering are highest in the 45 to 54 year age group at 679,602 people.

Media captionIndians dreams of Australia "ruined" 2.

The Catholic figure in Newcastle is 22.2 per cent, and 23.4 per cent in the rest of the Hunter, with drops of 3.5 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively.

She believes that politicians and Australian leaders should take notice of the census' numbers, and allow those who recognise as non-religious to have more of a voice in leadership and government sectors and policy.

More than one million new migrants have come to Australia since 2011, with China (191,000) and India (163,000) the most common countries of birth for new arrivals.

In the US, the census doesn't ask Americans about their religious affiliations, but according to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who don't identify with an organized religion is also growing. Catholicism was the most popular Christian denomination, the census found.

"2016 Census data provides a detailed, accurate and fascinating picture of Australia and our communities", Mr Kalisch said.

Half of Australia was born, or had a parent who was born, overseas, prompting the ABS to call us a "nation of nations".

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