National Household Survey confirms BC leaving religion

Results announced today from Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey show that nearly half of British Columbia does not identify with a religion. The new data echoes the conclusion of a recent BCHA poll that found two-thirds of BC does not practice a religion or faith.

Results announced today from Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey show that nearly half of British Columbia does not identify with a religion. The new data echoes the conclusion of an April 2013 poll conducted by Justason Marketing Intelligence for the BC Humanist Association that found two-thirds of BC does not practice a religion or faith.

Since 2001, the last time Statistics Canada probed religious identity in the country, the number reporting “no religion” has grown by over half a million people in BC, or from 36% to 44% of the province. The Justason poll found that 15% of BC attends a religious service on a weekly basis, a number that falls to 10% on Vancouver Island.

“The National Household Survey inflates the religious numbers,” says BCHA Executive Director Ian Bushfield. The group’s concerns come from the phrasing of the question in the Survey, which asks what religion a person is “even if they are not currently a practicing member of that group.” Bushfield says that it’s important to get an accurate representation of the population because governments base public policy on Statistics Canada’s data.

Other groups have raised concerns over the validity of the Survey data since it was made voluntary. The survey was sent to one-in-three households and had a refusal rate of 26% in BC.

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