Ireland's latest census shows a steady decline in godliness

Ireland's latest census shows a steady decline in godliness April 8, 2017

Reacting to Irish census figures that show a drop of just 3.4 percent of people claiming to be Catholic, Humanist Society of Ireland’s spokesperson Brian Whiteside, above, this week expressed his scepticism over the figure.
In this report, Whiteside said:

It seems odd that the number of Catholics has only declined by 3.4 percent. The evidence on the ground, that is, the meagre numbers entering the priesthood, and the massive decline in church attendance would suggest that, while many identify as being Catholic, few actually practice the religion on any regular basis.
The figures seem to overestimate the strength of established religions in the country.

Whiteside said the latest figures show that one in ten people in Ireland have no religion.

Quite clearly the number of citizens who identify as having no religion is sharply increasing as the number of Catholics and Protestants decreases.

Those with no religion almost doubled from 269,800 to 468,400 and the number of Catholics in Ireland dropped by 132,200 from 3,861,300 to 3,729,100.
The association ran campaign in the lead-up to Census 2016 urging people mark “No Religion” on the census form if they did not practise a religion.
He said:

Another interesting statistic is the fact that 125,300 people declined to answer the religion question at all so the increase in those with ‘no religion’ maybe even higher.

Overall, the census indicated that there has been a 73.6 percent increase in the number of Irish people with no religion. 468,400 Irish people claimed no religion in the 2016 survey  – a rise of 269,800 since the 2011 census. The “nones” now comprises 9.8 percent of the Irish population, the second largest group in the religion category behind Catholics.

Despite numbers declining from 3,861,300 to 3,729,100, Catholics still make up 78.3 percent of the Irish population. This is despite the figures showing a much-reduced mass attendance across the country.
Back in 1991, 92 percent of the population identified as Catholic while only two percent responded with “no religion”. In 15 years, this has increased five times over to almost a tenth of the Irish population.
The decline in Catholicism in Ireland may also be a result of a global trend noted by Pew Research Center which showed that across Europe the number of deaths among Christians exceeded the number of births.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn

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  • remigius

    “…the number of deaths among Christians exceeded the number of births.”
    That’s why some Christians insist on being born again – they’re trying to balance the data sets.

  • Michael Glass

    Preliminary results from the 2016 Australian Census will be published on 11 April 2017. It will be interesting to see what this will reveal about religious affiliation in Australia.

  • 1859

    I wonder if these figures were collected before or after the revelations concerning the septic tank containing the remains of babies and children? I would expect this single, horrific story to make millions disavow their loyalty to the RCC. Here’s hoping.

  • barriejohn

    Now for shocking new evidence that millions of Christians don’t believe in the Resurrection!
    Commenting for the Church of England, the Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend David Walker, said: “This important and welcome survey proves that many British people, despite not being regular churchgoers, hold core Christian beliefs.
    “Alongside them it finds surprisingly high levels of religious belief among those who follow no specific religion, often erroneously referred to as secularists or atheists.
    “This demonstrates how important beliefs remain across our society and hence the importance both of religious literacy and of religion having a prominent place in public discourse.”

    They don’t fucking get it, do they?

  • Paul

    Were they down the pub when the census was taken?

  • Brian Jordan

    However, almost one in 10 people of no religion say they do believe the Easter story, but it has “some content that should not be taken literally”
    i.e. 10% believe in the historicity of Jesus. So what?

  • barriejohn

    Paul: My digs up north were just down the road from an enormous Catholic church. From observation, I’d say that the local boozer was definitely where you’d find most of them!

  • lucy1

    The difficult thing is that so many people will put ‘RC ‘ or ‘C of E’ because that is how they were raised. They have nothing to do with any church apart from weddings (maybe) and funerals. But they care too little to redefine themselves as ‘None”.
    And the churches will continue to claim them as members.
    And ‘core Christian beliefs’? WTF? If people express common human decency, those bastards claim it for xtianity.

  • barriejohn

    Lucy: Have you been attending the House of Lords?
    “My Lords, it seems to me that those three pictures point us to deep values within our own society – deeper even than ones that have been mentioned, quite rightly, in the Prime Minister’s statement and in other statements – which is the sense that comes from (and you would expect this from these benches) a narrative that is within our society for almost 2000 years.
    “That speaks of – at this time of year as we look forward to Holy Week and Easter – of a God who stands with the suffering, and brings justice, and whose resurrection has given to believer and unbeliever the sense that where we do what is right; where we behave properly; where that generosity and extraordinary sense of duty that leads people to treat a terrorist is shown; where that bravery of someone like PC Keith Palmer is demonstrated, that there is a victory for what is right and good; over what is evil, despairing and bad.”

    All compassion and kindness is owed to our Christian heritage!