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Sources of data

Sources of data

Statistics Canada is a reliable source of data on religious affiliation in Canada. It has measured religion in Canada every 10 years since 1871 though a long-form census questionnaire that is (...)

Statistics Canada is a reliable source of data on religious affiliation in Canada. It has measured religion in Canada every 10 years since 1871 though a long-form census questionnaire that is circulated to 25% of households. This survey asks participants to provide one specific denomination or religion to which they belong, whether they are practicing members of that religion or not. Data has been gathered on nonreligious affiliation since 1921 but results on ‘No Religion’ were not published until 1971. More information on nonreligion and the Canadian census is available in Brian Clarke and Stuart Macdonald’s 2017 book Leaving Christianity.

Religious affiliation is also measured by Statistics Canada through the General Social Survey, which was created in 1985 to gather more in-depth data on social trends. The sample sizes for this survey are smaller than that of the national census. Each survey has a different theme, but each one collects comprehensive socio-demographic information, including religion.

Data on religious affiliation was collected in 2011 through the optional National Household Survey, which replaced the mandatory long-form census questionnaire. It reported that approximately two-thirds (67.3%) of the Canadian population were Christian, and nearly one-quarter (23.9%) have no religious affiliation. The mandatory long-form questionnaire was reinstated in 2016. A data table on (non)religious affiliation from the National Household Survey is available on the Statistics Canada website.

D 15 July 2021    ALauren Strumos

Surveys

Angus Reid Institute, Holy Week at Home : Canadians of Faith turn to prayer and tech as Covid-19 disrupts Easter and other celebrations, April 2020. Angus Reid Institute, Canadian voters’ (...)

- Angus Reid Institute, Holy Week at Home : Canadians of Faith turn to prayer and tech as Covid-19 disrupts Easter and other celebrations, April 2020.

- Angus Reid Institute, Canadian voters’ sensitivity to party stances on social values shows CPC [Conservative Party of Canada] has room to move to the centre, February 2020.

- Angus Reid Institute, In Canada, Christmas traditions change as fewer people see religion as the reason for the season, December 2019.

- Angus Reid Institute. Religious Canadians praying for return to in-person worship, but won’t forsake online services in future, April 2021.

- The Association for Canadian Studies and the Quebec Community Groups Network, Restrictions on Religious Signs in Quebec on the Basis of Linguistic Identification, May 2019.

- Environics Institute for Survey Research. Canadian public opinion about immigration and refugees. Final Report, October 2020.

- Jack Jedwab. Definitely … Maybe … No Way: Do Canadians Believe in God? Association for Canadian Studies, July 2019.

- Leger and Le Journal de Montréal, Debate on secularism, September 2019.

- Pew Research Center, Young adults around the world are less religious by several measures (includes results on Canada), June 2018.

- Beyer Peter, Cummins Alyshea, Craig Scott, Singamsetty Manvitha, Cultural and religious identity among 18 to 45 year-olds in Canada: A Survey. Summary and selected findings, Ottawa: Religion and Diversity Project, 2017.

- Reginald W. Bibby. Life After Death Anything but a Dead Topic. Project Canada 2020 Press Release #9. March 2021.

D 1 July 2021    ALauren Strumos

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