A recent study by Massey University has shown a sharp rise in the number of New Zealanders without religious affiliation. 40% of Kiwis choose not to be religious, up from 29% when a similar study was performed 17 years ago.
The study also showed that just over half (53%) of those surveyed said that they believed in God, although half of those had doubts. Just over a third of the respondents claimed to be religious.
“The study shows that God is not dead, but religion may be dying,” says Professor Grendall, who headed the project. With no change in those who believe in a “higher power” rather than a specific god (at 20%), Grendall believes that “…perhaps the apparent decline in religiosity reflects a decline in traditional religious loyalties – rather than a decline in spirituality as such.”
This tracks with the most recent census results, with 29.6% claiming no religion in the 2001 census – a figure that rose to 34.7% just five years later in the 2006 census. This rapid rise in the numbers of non-religious is likely to be age-related. Only 11.8% of those over 65 recorded no religion in 2006, while 43% of children (aged 0-14) claimed the same status.
Massey news item here.
Can your country beat these statistics? Comment below…