Twice as many atheists in the country as 20 years ago

Twice as many atheists in the country as there were 20 years ago


The proportion of Canadians who consider themselves to be Christian is rapidly shrinking in the country, with Christians being rapidly replaced by atheists and people who practice other religions. 

According to census data, the share of Canadians who practice a faith related to Christianity — including Protestantism, Catholicism or Anglicanism — has dropped significantly, from 67.3% in 2011 to 53.3 % in 2021. This decline is not new, as Canada had more than three in four people (77.1%) who identified as Christian just 20 years ago, in 2001.

Data released Wednesday show that, on the other hand, atheism is popular among the population.

“About 12.6 million people, more than a third of the population of Canada, declared have no religious affiliation. The share of this population has more than doubled in 20 years, going from 16.5% in 2001 to 34.6% in 2021,” said Statistics Canada.

The changing ethnodemographic portrait in the country also favors the growth of other religions, with some having more than doubled their proportion of followers in 20 years.

“From 2001 to 2021, these shares increased from 2% to 4.9% for Muslims, from 1% to 2.3% for Hindus and from 0.9% to 2.1% for Sikhs,” noted the federal agency.

In a parallel study, Statistics Canada revealed Wednesday that approximately one in four Canadians is an immigrant.