Changing religious demographics

British Columbia has consistently ranked as the least religious province in Canada and the number of people identifying as having no religion has been steadily rising in recent years.

Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, which replaced the previous long-form census, found that the percentage of Canadians who are religiously unaffiliated has nearly doubled in 20 years, from 12.4% in 1991 to 23.8% in 2011. In BC 44.1% of the population in 2011 reported "no religion", the highest of any province.

Statistics Canada’s data arguably inflates the religiosity of Canadians. The survey asks someone’s religion “even if they are not currently a practising member of that group.” The 2011 National Household Survey has also been criticized as, unlike the previous long-form census, it was voluntary. Statistics Canada reported a refusal rate of 26% in BC and it decided not to release data for many smaller communities where it believed its data to be compromised.

To get a more accurate sense of the true religiosity of British Columbians, the BC Humanist Association commissioned Justason Market Intelligence in April 2013 and Insights West in June 2016 to poll British Columbians on a number of questions. When asked "Do you practice or participate in a particular religion or faith?" 69% said no in 2016, a rise from 64% who said no in 2013. Further, 70% said they believed in a higher power in 2013 while only 56% said so in 2016.

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