There has been a steep rise in the amount of people in Canterbury who now consider themselves non-religious, according to the latest figures.
When the previous census was taken back in 2011, only 28.5% of people claimed to be atheist, compared to 42% in 2021.
However, although these statistics may show a drastic increase, it’s unclear how accurate the data is on a whole as the survey was not mandatory in the last census whereas it was back in 2011.
7% of people chose not to state their religion, making it unclear whether or not they follow any type of faith.
There are many reasons why religious beliefs may be changing, the main reason being people are becoming more aware of scientific explanations and theories and therefore more sceptical of traditional beliefs and practices. Similarly, with travel and the internet becoming more accessible, people are more exposed to diverse cultures and ideas, making them more open minded to different viewpoints.
Additionally, people relocating in or out of Canterbury may be another cause of the change.