Canada : Rapid transformation of the religious landscape

Source: FSSPX News

The Pew Forum, a research institute in the social sciences based in Washington, published on June 27 a study entitled Canada’s Changing Religious Landscape.This latest study reveals that there never have been so many Canadians belonging to minority religions, and at the same time there is a constantly increasing number of Canadians without religious affiliation, while regular practice is in decline.

The national anthem of Canada admittedly makes reference to God (O Canada…God keep our homeland glorious and free) and two-thirds of Canadians still identify themselves as members of majority religions—Catholic and Protestant—but the two Christian confessions have been undergoing a substantial erosion for four decades : the Protestants have gone in 40 years from 41% to 27%, and the Catholics from 47% to 39%.

Those who have no religious affiliation have gone from 4% in 1971 to almost a quarter of the population (24%) in 2011. The increase in religiously non-affiliated Canadians is similar, in certain respects, to the growth of this group—sometimes called the “Nones”—in the United States. In both countries, approximately one out of twenty adults, or 5%, were religiously non-affiliated at the beginning of the 1970’s. The disaffiliation began to increase strongly in Canada during the 1980’s and in the United States during the 1990’s. And in the last decade, both countries have experienced a rapid increase in the number of adults who say that they have no religious affiliation.

Presently, around 20% of Canada’s population were born in another country. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the foreign-born population was lower, coming principally from Europe and most of them Christian. In recent years, the growing number of immigrants—around half of the immigrant population of Canada—coming from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, has reinforced the category of “other religions” by their affiliation to Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. Since 2001, almost four out of ten (39%) of new Canadian immigrants belong to these minority religions, as compared to the same proportion of new immigrants (39%) who identify themselves as Catholics or Protestants.

(Sources : apic/pewforum – DICI no. 282 dated October 4, 2013)

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