Religious affiliations of the Chinese community in Australia: findings from 2016 census data

Yu Tao, Theo Stapleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Through a systematic investigation—the first attempt of this kind—into the recently released 2016 Australian census data, this article presents a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the religious identity of the Chinese Community in contemporary Australia. Based on the empirical information derived from the census, this article details and interrogates the apparent high level of secularity among the Chinese community in Australia. It also demonstrates that, whilst Christianity is the most popular religion within the Chinese community, the proportion of people who claim to be Christian is significantly lower in the Chinese community as compared to Australia’s general population. Furthermore, the proportion of believers in Buddhism, Ancestor Veneration, Confucianism, and Taoism within the Chinese community is significantly higher than the same proportion found within Australia’s general population. It is also shown that even when using different definitions to demarcate the Chinese community, those being self-reported ancestry, languages spoken at home, or the birthplaces of parents, the religious profile of the community remains relatively stable. However, a further breakdown into ancestral, geographical, and linguistic groups reveals some noteworthy differences.
Original languageEnglish
Article number93
Number of pages26
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


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