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Religious affiliation

Fewer affiliate with Christian religions than in 2006

In 2013, the number of people who affiliated with a Christian religion (including Māori Christian) decreased to 1,906,398 (48.9 percent of all people who stated their religious affiliation), down from 2,082,942 (55.6 percent) in 2006. 

Graph, People affiliated with Christian religions, 2001, 2006, and 2013 Censuses.

Largest Christian religions

The five largest Christian denominations in 2013 were:

  • Catholic – 492,105 people
  • Anglican – 459,771 people
  • Presbyterian, Congregational, and Reformed – 330,516 people
  • Christian not further defined (Christian but with no denomination specified) – 216,177 people
  • Methodist – 102,879 people.

Increases and decreases in Christian religions

Affiliation with some Christian religions decreased between 2006 and 2013, including:

  • Māori Christian – down 19.2 percent
  • Presbyterian, Congregational, and Reformed – down 17.5 percent
  • Anglican – down 17.1 percent
  • Methodist – down 15.5 percent
  • Latter-day Saints – down 6.5 percent
  • Pentecostal – down 6.2 percent
  • Catholic – down 3.2 percent.

However, affiliation with some Christian religions increased between 2006 and 2013:

  • Protestant not further defined (Protestant but with no denomination specified) – up 26.4 percent
  • Evangelical, Born Again, and Fundamental – up 11.2 percent
  • Christian not further defined (Christian but with no denomination specified) – up 6.1 percent
  • Adventist – up 5.5 percent.

Catholic religion overtakes Anglican religion to be largest Christian denomination

Catholic was the largest Christian denomination in 2013. This was a change from 2006, when Anglican was the largest.

The number of people who affiliated with the Catholic religion increased between 2001 and 2006, but then decreased between 2006 and 2013:

  • 2013 – 492,105 people
  • 2006 – 508,437 people
  • 2001 – 485,637 people.

The number of people who affiliated with the Anglican religion decreased between 2001 and 2006, and again between 2006 and 2013:

  • 2013 – 459,771 people
  • 2006 – 554,925 people
  • 2001 – 584,793 people.

Catholic and Anglican religions by birthplace

Of the people who affiliated with the Catholic denomination in 2013, 71.0 percent (345,411 people) were born in New Zealand. For those born overseas, the most common countries of birth were:

  • the Philippines – 5.6 percent of all overseas-born (27,264 people)
  • England – 3.5 percent (16,974 people)
  • Samoa – 2.4 percent (11,598 people).

Of the people who affiliated with the Anglican denomination in 2013, 79.5 percent (360,333 people) were born in New Zealand. For those born overseas, the most common country of birth was England (13.2 percent, or 59,655 people, were born in England).

Catholic and Anglican religions by ethnicity

One in 8 people affiliating with the Catholic denomination (12.5 percent or 61,242) identified with at least one Asian ethnic group, compared with 1.7 percent of people (7,707) who affiliated with the Anglican denomination.

Of people affiliating with the Catholic denomination, 10.6 percent (52,035) belonged to at least one Pacific peoples ethnic group. In comparison, 1.6 percent of people (7,365) who affiliated with the Anglican denomination belonged to a Pacific peoples ethnic group.

Catholic and Anglican religions by age

People affiliating with the Catholic religion were younger than those affiliating with Anglican:

  • Of people affiliating with the Catholic religion, 64.5 percent (317,439 people) were under 50 years old, compared with 40.5 percent of those affiliating with Anglican (186,051 people).
  • Of people affiliating with the Catholic religion, 20.0 percent were children (aged under 15 years), compared with 11.2 percent of those affiliating with Anglican.

Number affiliating with Sikh more than doubled since 2006

The number of people affiliating with the Sikh religion more than doubled since 2006. In 2013, 19,191 people indicated an affiliation with the Sikh religion, compared with 9,507 in 2006.

Of the 19,191 people who affiliated with the Sikh religion:

  • 58.3 percent (11,184 people) were male
  • more than a third (34.9 percent) were in their twenties (aged 20–29 years)
  • 99.2 percent belonged to the Asian ethnic group.

Large increase in Hindu and Islam/Muslim

The number of people affiliating with Hinduism increased 39.6 percent since 2006 (from 64,392 people in 2006 to 89,919 people in 2013).

Of those who affiliated with Hinduism in 2013:

  • more than 1 in 5 people (20.8 percent) were born in New Zealand
  • 31.8 percent were born in the Pacific Islands
  • 42.9 percent were born in Asia.

The number of people affiliating with the Muslim religion increased 27.9 percent since 2006 (from 36,072 people in 2006 to 46,149 people in 2013).

Of those who affiliated with Islam in 2013:

  • more than a quarter (25.7 percent) were born in New Zealand
  • 21.0 percent were born in the Pacific Islands
  • 26.9 percent were born in Asia
  • 23.3 percent were born in the Middle East and Africa.

People reporting no religion continues to increase

The number and proportion of people indicating they had no religion increased between 2006 and 2013. In 2013, more than 2 in 5 people (41.9 percent) reported they had no religion. For the three most recent censuses, the numbers of people reporting no religion were:

  • 2013 – 1,635,345 people (41.9 percent of all people who stated their religious affiliation)
  • 2006 – 1,297,104 people (34.6 percent)
  • 2001 – 1,028,049 people (29.6 percent).

Younger people were more likely to indicate they had no religion. More males than females stated they had no religion, particularly among people aged 65 years or over.

Graph, People stating no religion, by sex, 2013 Census.

Of the major ethnic groups, people identifying with the European and Māori ethnic groups were most likely to state they had no religion. Of people who identified with at least one European ethnic group, 46.9 percent indicated they had no religion. People identifying with the Middle Eastern/Latin American/African major ethnic group were least likely to report they had no religion.

The numbers of people reporting no religion were:

  • European – 1,356,816 people (46.9 percent of this ethnic group)
  • Māori – 263,517 people (46.3 percent)
  • Asian – 138,690 people (30.3 percent)
  • Pacific peoples – 48,975 people (17.5 percent)
  • Middle Eastern/Latin American/African – 7,680 people (17.0 percent).
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