30 June 2012


After radio interviews and a piece on perceptions of the national population & housing census I was delighted to see some of the dissections of data from that survey.

The ABC's Lateline reports that the number of adherents to the belief system known as Scientology has declined, with a mere 2,163 Australians identifying themselves as Scientologists in 2011, a 13.7% from the 2006 census and of course at odds with promo in 2009 where a Hubbard devotee claimed that there were "tens, if not hundreds of thousands" of Scientologists in Australia and hype about support in connection with last year's employment inquiry.

The number of self-identified Rastafarians is up by 30%. 'Pantheists' increased by 35% and self-identified Jedis reached 65,000. There were a miserable 8,000 Wiccans, one of whom is presumably Ms Eilish De Avalon.

Lateline quotes a "Jedi Master" (no indication of whether he can deliver the goods when asked to do telekinesis or other Jedi tricks) as explaining -
It’s less of a stigma now. Right back in 2001 there was that stigma - that it was a joke religion and that it was just a prank played on the census but I'm finding that I declare myself as Jedi everywhere I go and I'm finding less and less heckling or giggling. ... It is a serious religion; it’s a very serious religion. More than half the population in the world believe in a life force energy. We believe in The Force as our life force energy.
The ABS reports that
In the past decade, the proportion of the population reporting an affiliation to a Christian religion decreased from 68% in 2001 to 61% in 2011. This trend was also seen for the two most commonly reported denominations. In 2001, 27% of the population reported an affiliation to Catholicism. This decreased to 25% of the population in 2011. There was a slightly larger decrease for Anglicans from 21% of the population in 2001 to 17% in 2011. Some of the smaller Christian denominations increased over this period - there was an increase for those identifying with Pentecostal from 1.0% of the population in 2001 to 1.1% in 2011.
There were 529,000 Buddhists and 476,300 adherents of Islam. 22% of the population identified as 'No Religion' (up from 15% of the population in 2001). 28% of people aged 15-34 reporting they had no religious affiliation.

It's too early, of course, for stats on the local branch of The Church of Kopimism (ie Pirate Bay At Prayer)