Holy Name Church. Photo: Bev Lacey / The Chronicle
Holy Name Church. Photo: Bev Lacey / The Chronicle Bev Lacey

Australia’s most religious and non-religious postcodes

AUSTRALIA'S most religious and non-religious postcodes have been revealed in the latest Census data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Ninety-three per cent of residents in the New South Wales postcode 2190, which encompasses the suburbs Greenacre and Chullora, in Sydney's south-west,stated they had a religious, secular or other spiritual belief, according to information consultants at the ABS.

The area has been identified as Australia's most religious.

Nearly half (41.4 per cent) of the population claimed a religious affiliation to Islam and the same percentage spoke Arabic, while 23.1 per cent identified as Catholic.

Only 6.1 per cent stated they had "no religion".

Also included where 11 people (0.04 per cent) who said they had a "secular belief" which the ABS said could include agnosticism, atheism, humanism, rationalism and others not classified.

According to Census stats, the "most common ancestry" of residents in the area was Lebanese (31.1 per cent), followed by Australian (10.1 per cent) and English (7.1 per cent).

While 53.3 per cent of residents were born in Australia, 68.6 per cent had both parents born overseas, with the highest percentage coming from Lebanon.

The figures were based on postal areas with at least 100 usual residents, and based on persons who answered the question regarding religion (which is not compulsory).

Census stats reveal an insight into Australia’s most religious postcode.
Census stats reveal an insight into Australia’s most religious postcode. Supplied

A whopping 72.7 per cent of households spoke a language other than English, while the median age was 33 years old. Children aged 0-14 made up almost a quarter of the population. (24.1 per cent).

One of the suburbs, Greenacre, is home to Australia's largest Islamic School, the Malek Fahd Islamic School, which is fighting to keep its federal government funding.

According to The Conversation, Muslims were almost entirely absent from many neighbourhoods and suburbs, and there were only a few (located in Melbourne and Sydney) where they made up more than 50 per cent of the population. This includes the neighbouring suburb of Lakemba.

Despite fears Australia is becoming a "Muslim country", those ticking "no religion" in the Census has now overtaken the number of Catholics.

It's the first time in Australia's history the number of people who claim "no religion" has overtaken Catholics, although the number of Christians in total still made up 51 per cent of the population.

The least religious suburb according to the ABS is found on the other side of the country, in a small, sleepy town in Western Australia with the postcode 6705, where 66.5 per cent of the population in Gascoyne Junction stated that they had no religion.

The area includes heritage-listed sites from early colonial Australian days and has a high proportion of indigenous people.

More than half (58.4 per cent) of the 278 people who live in the area, identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Other suburbs that have been identified as particularly unholy include Melbourne's "terrace-lined" North Fitzroy, while Fairfax is reporting Erskineville in Sydney's inner-west was "now officially Australia's most ungodly suburb".

Nationally, the latest Census drop showed those ticking "no religion" rose from 22.6 per cent to 29.6 per cent - nearly double the 16 per cent in 2001.

Meanwhile, those identifying as Catholic dropped from 25.3 per cent to 22.6 per cent.

The number of Christians in total still made up 51 per cent of the population, but this is much less than the 88 per cent in 1966 and 74 per cent in 1991.

Islam (2.6 per cent) and Buddhism (2.4 per cent) were the next most common religions reported.

Those who did not answer the religion question, which is a non-compulsory question in the Census, was 9.6 per cent, up slightly from 9.2 per cent in 2011.

We remain a predominantly English speaking country, with 72.7 per cent of people reporting they speak only English at home. Tasmania had the highest rate of people speaking only English at home with 88 per cent, while the Northern Territory had the lowest rate at 58 per cent.

An earlier release of Census data in April showed the typical Australian was now a 38-year-old married woman with two children.