Now on to religion itself. The first thing to note is that the census “collected information on religious affiliation, regardless of whether respondents practiced their religion.” So there are plenty of cultural Christians (and others) in the following numbers. As of 2011, 22.103 million Canadians identified as Christian, about 67.3% of the total Canadian population. That’s down ten percent from 2001 when Christians made up 77% of the population.
Here are the largest denominational affiliations reported on the census:
- Roman Catholic: 12.729 million or 38.7% of the total Canadian population
- United Church: 2.008 million (6.1% of the total Canadian population)
- Anglican: 1.632 million (5.0% of the total Canadian population)
- Christian (denomination not specified): 4.5% of the total Canadian population
- Baptist: 1.9% of the total Canadian population
- Christian Orthodox (all groups): 1.7% of the total Canadian population (40.0% of these were Greek Orthodox)
- Muslim: 3.2% of the total Canadian population
- Hindu: 1.5% of the total Canadian population
- Sikh: 1.4% of the total Canadian population
- Buddhist: 1.1% of the total Canadian population
- Jewish: 1.0% of the total Canadian population
Some of the change to Canada’s religious identity is attributable to our immigration patterns. From 2001-2011, 33.0% of immigrants belonged to a non-Christian religion, while 19.5% were religiously unaffiliated.
Those are the official new numbers, but we need to take them with a bit of caution. Unlike previous censuses, the 2011 Census is the first one to take place after the federal government replaced the previously-mandatory “long form” census in favour of a voluntary “National Household Survey.” At the time, Statistics Canada warned the move would seriously undermine it’s ability to give an accurate picture of Canadian demographics. In fact, the Chief Statitician of Canada Munir Sheikh, who had been appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008 disagreed so strongly with the government’s move that he resigned, saying:
I want to take this opportunity to comment on a technical statistical issue which has become the subject of media discussion… the question of whether a voluntary survey can become a substitute for a mandatory census. It can not. Under the circumstances, I have tendered my resignation to the prime minister.
My only comment is this... Apparently Lutherans constitute such a small number they do not show up... Not a good thing. In conjunction with this, those with no religion are the second largest religious block, after Roman Catholics. Not a good thing. Finally our neighbors to the north seem to have absorbed the bad habits of their neighbors to the south... or is it the other way around? Who knows. The driving move to a cultural Christianity and a non-religious population seems to continue unheeded.