Canada's Christian numbers projected to fall over next two decades

  • March 12, 2010
In the next 20 years Canada is expected to be less Christian, and a little less religious.

According to Statistics Canada, the most dramatic change in Canada’s religious landscape will be an increase in the number of Muslims. Muslims currently make up 35 per cent of all non-Christians. By 2031 they will be half of the non-Christian population.

Overall, the non-Christians will increase to 14 per cent of Canadians, compared with eight per cent now. Those who claim no religion will rise marginally to 21 per cent, from about 17 per cent today, Statistics Canada projects.

The Christian majority is expected to drop from 75 per cent of the population to 65 per cent by 2031.

The changes are largely driven by immigration. Between now and 2031 the foreign-born population could increase approximately four times faster than the Canadian-born population, Statistics Canada said in its March 9 release. The agency projects the foreign-born portion of Canada’s population will increase from 20 per cent in 2006 to between 25 and 28 per cent in 2031.

One group likely to change the face of many Catholic parishes is Canada’s fourth largest visible minority — Filipinos. The overwhelmingly Catholic Filipino population is expected to double over the next 20 years.

The changes will be most dramatic in Canada’s largest cities. Small towns and rural areas are likely to see little change. Seventy-one per cent of all visible minority people will live in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal by 2031, according to projections.

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