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Australia sees drop in Catholic population of 2.7 per cent between 2011-2016

Australia’s Catholic population fell by 2.7 per cent between 2011 and 2016, but Catholics are more likely to have a higher education, according to an analysis of census data by the National Center for Pastoral Research.

Analysing statistics from the country’s 2016 census, the centre reported on 4th April in its ‘Social Profile of the Catholic Community in Australia’ that members of the Church also were more likely to have been born overseas than five years earlier.

The centre assists the Australian Catholic Church in understanding the cultural, social and personal dimensions of religions throughout the country. Its work is overseen by the Australian Catholic Council for Pastoral Research of the Australian bishops’ conference.

The Catholic population stood at nearly 5.3 million in 2016 compared with more than 5.4 million in 2011. Catholics comprised 22.6 per cent of the country’s total population in 2016, down from 25.3 percent five years earlier.

“The drop in the number of Catholics is concerning and the bishops are keen to understand what’s behind it and respond as positively as possible,” Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, president of the Australian bishops’ conference, said in a media release.

Picture: A young woman leaves St Mary’s Cathedral after a Mass in Sydney on 12th February 2013. Australia’s Catholic population fell by 2.7 per cent between 2011 and 2016, but Catholics are more likely to have a higher education, according to an analysis of census data by the National Center for Pastoral Research. (CNS photo/Daniel Munoz, Reuters).