Canadian society promotes religious and freedom. Every citizen has the liberty to observe any religion in Canada, so long as its practices do not break the law. There is no official national religion, but Christianity has been the dominant faith since . For example, swearing on the Bible is a part of most legal proceedings and prayers open many official functions. alternatives are also practised and people are expected to respect religious diversity in both government and society.
Canadians tend not to discuss religion in public or explicitly with those that they don’t know very well. They are free to choose whether they want to identify themselves as a religious person or not, to avoid potential confrontation and judgement. Conversations around religion are still welcome, but people may not like it when others try to promote their faith or speak defensively about it (including ). Preaching in social conversation can be seen as irritating and self-righteous.
The 2011 National Household Survey estimated that 67.3% of Canadians are Christian (38.7% being Catholic), 23.9% are unaffiliated with any religion and 8.1% belong to a religion other than Christianity (Islam being the largest non-Christian faith at 3.25%).
Although over 70% of Canada’s population are estimated to have a religious affiliation, much less are thought to attend religious services. In response to the General Social Survey of 2011, only 27% of Canadians said that they attend a religious service at least once a month. However, observance varies by and religious . The immigrant population in Canada remains the most religiously observant with 43% reporting religious service attendance at least once a month. Generally, tend to be more religious than . For example, percentage of religiously unaffiliated is three times higher in British Columbia (44%) than Quebec (12%).
There has also been a growth in minority faiths as immigration from Asia, Africa and the Middle East has increased. However, the number of Canada’s immigrants who are unaffiliated with a religion has also risen to 20%, which is likely due to an increase in migration from China, the world’s largest religiously unaffiliated population.
The number of Canadians who don’t ascribe to any particular religion has also risen a great deal in recent generations, which is somewhat due to a generational replacement of values and beliefs. Also, some Canadians have disaffiliated with their religion as they have aged; for example, the number of people born between 1947 and 1966 unaffiliated with any religion has almost doubled since 1981.
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