Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is answering the religion question important?

You are not required to answer the religion question, but religion statistics from the Census are used to inform policies and funding that affect the daily lives of all Australians — for example for schools, hospitals, aged care facilities, universities, places of worship, chaplaincy programs, laws governing religious and non-religious freedoms, allocation of time on public radio and other media, and so on.

Erroneous statistics, along with misleading claims from some religious leaders, can result in damaging policies or inappropriate funding.

What if I’m baptised but not practising?

If you firmly and actively believe the teachings and positions of your denomination’s leading clerics, then it would be appropriate to mark that religion.

However, if you doubt or disagree with leading clerics, then you could answer ‘No Religion’.

How should I answer for my children?

If possible, let them answer for themselves. Freedom to choose is a fundamental right in Australia. Record their answer even if your answer is different.

If they haven’t decided, or are too young to decide, the most appropriate answer is “No Religion”.

What if my family is religious, but I’m not?

If your family historically regards itself as Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Hindu or any other religion but you don’t really follow or practise that religion — or any other religion — then mark ‘No Religion’.

How do I keep my choice on religion from others in my household?

If you are concerned about family or other household members seeing your answer, make sure you fill out your Census form privately online, rather than using the household-wide paper form.

Am I religious if I attend a religious wedding or funeral?
No. If you attend a wedding, funeral, or baptism in a place of worship, this is a social event in support of family and friends. You may count yourself as religious if you attend a place of worship purely for worship itself.
What if I believe in a ‘higher power’ but not God?
The purpose of the Census is to establish the number of Australians following the beliefs and practices of specific religious creeds. If you believe in a general ‘higher power’ but don’t follow the tenets of a specific religion, mark ‘No Religion’.
Is atheism, humanism or rationalism a religion?

No. While these are types of worldview, they don’t rely on metaphysical or supernatural explanations of the world. If you hold any of these world views, mark ‘No Religion’.

Should I record a mythical or humorous religion?

No. Answers such as ‘Pastafarian’, ‘Jedi’, ‘beer’ or ‘chocolate’ are reported as ‘Inadequately described’ and therefore do not provide meaningful data.  Mark ‘No Religion’ instead.