Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 611–627 | Cite as

Religiously unaffiliated Canadians: Sex, age, and regional variations

  • Ellen M. Gee
  • Jean E. Veevers
Article

Abstract

Canada has been viewed traditionally as a preponderantly Christian country, with persons who are not affiliated with religion perceived as a deviant minority. Lack of affiliation with organized religion may be operationalized in a number of ways. In Canada in 1985, of all persons over the age of 15, about one in ten reported “no religion”. An additional 20% may be considered to be unaffiliated, in that they report they never attend church; and an additional 10% report that they go to church less than once a year. Depending upon the indicator used, therefore, nearly one in four Canadians may be considered to be religiously unaffiliated.

Data from the 1985 General Social Survey (N=11110) are analyzed by sex, age and region. Being unaffiliated with organized religion is consistently more common among men than among women. The highest proportions of unaffiliated persons occur within the 25–34 year age group, with the lowest generally occuring in the 55–64 age group. The Atlantic provinces contain the lowest proportions of unaffiliated persons. Proportions increase westward to reach a high in British Columbia, where the percentage of non-affiliates is about twice the national average. Implications of the incidence of religious non-affiliation are discussed with reference to future research.

Keywords

Regional Variation Lower Proportion National Average General Social Survey Atlantic Province 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Bibliography

  1. AmbertAnne-Marie and Jean-FrancoisSaucier: 1986, ‘Adolescent's overt religiosity and parent's marital status’, International Journal of Comparative Sociology 27, pp. 87–95.Google Scholar
  2. AmoatengAcheampong Yaw and Stephen J.Bahr: 1980, ‘Religion, family and adolescent drug use’, Sociological Perspectives 29, pp. 53–76.Google Scholar
  3. ArgyleM.: 1958, Religious Behaviour (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London).Google Scholar
  4. BeattyKathleen Murphy and OliverWalter: 1984, ‘Religious preference and practice: revaluating their impact on political tolerance’, Public Opinion Quarterly 48, pp. 318–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. BibbyReginald W.: 1977, ‘Religiosity in Canada: a national survey’, in C.Beattie and S.Crysdale (editors) Sociology Canada: Readings (Butterworths, Toronto), pp. 448–463.Google Scholar
  6. BibbyReginald W.: 1979a, ‘The state of collective religiosity in Canada: an empirical analysis’, Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology 16, pp. 105–116.Google Scholar
  7. BibbyReginald W.: 1979b, ‘Religion and modernity: the Canadian case’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 18, pp. 1–17.Google Scholar
  8. BibbyReginald W.: 1983, ‘Religionless Christianity: a profile of religion in the Canadian 80s’, Social Indicators Research 13, pp. 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. BibbyReginald W.: 1985, ‘Religious encasement in Canada: an argument for Protestant and Catholic entrenchment’, Social Compass 32, pp. 287–303.Google Scholar
  10. Bibby, Reginald W. and Harold R. Weaver. ‘Cult consumption in Canada: a further critique of Stark and Bainbridge’, Sociological Analysis 46, pp. 445–460.Google Scholar
  11. BrinkerhoffMerlin B. and MarleneMackie: 1985, ‘Religion and gender: a comparison of Canadian and American student attitudes’, Journal of Marriage and the Family 47, pp. 415–429.Google Scholar
  12. BlumenfieldMichael, Albert E.Riester, Alberto C.Cerrano and Russell L.Adams: 1972, ‘Marijuana use in high school students’, Diseases of the Nervous System 33, pp. 603–610.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. BogueDonald: 1959, The Population of the United States (Free Press, Glencoe).Google Scholar
  14. BurkettSteven R.: 1980, ‘Religiosity, beliefs, normative standards, and adolescent drinking’, Journal of Studies on Alcohol 41, pp. 662–671.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. CampbellAngus, Philip E.Converse and Willard L.Rodgers: 1976, The Quality of American Life: Perceptions, Evaluations and Satisfactions (Russell Sage, New York).Google Scholar
  16. ChalfantH. Paul and Charles W.Peek: 1983, ‘Religious affiliation, religiosity and racial prejudice: a new look at old relationships’, Review of Religious Research 25, pp. 155–161.Google Scholar
  17. DempenwolffJ. A.: 1974, ‘Some correlates of feminism’, Psychological Reports 34: 671–676.Google Scholar
  18. deVausDavid A.: 1982, ‘The impact of children on sex-related differences in church attendance’, Sociological Analysis 43, pp. 145–154.Google Scholar
  19. Gee, Ellen M. and Jean E. Veevers: 1987, ‘Affiliates and non-affiliates of organized religion: incidence and behavioral correlates among Canadian young people’, Paper presented to the International Committee on Family Research, Munich, Germany, September.Google Scholar
  20. GorsuchRichard L. and DanielAleshire: 1974, ‘Christian faith and prejudice: a review and interpretation of research’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 13, pp. 281–307.Google Scholar
  21. HadawayChristopher Kirk: 1978, ‘Life satisfaction and religion: a reanalysis’, Social Forces 57, pp. 636–643.Google Scholar
  22. IrwinPatrick and Norman L.Thompson: 1977, ‘Acceptance of the rights of homosexuals: a social profile’, Journal of Homosexuality 3, pp. 107–120.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. KilpatrickDean G., Louis W.Sutker and Patricia B.Sutker: 1970, ‘Dogmatism, religion and religiosity: a review and re-evaluation, Psychological Reports 26, pp. 15–22.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. KormanShiela K.: 1983, ‘The feminist: familial influences on adherence to ideology and commitment to a self-perception’, Family Relations 32, pp. 431–439.Google Scholar
  25. LazerwitzBernard: 1961, ‘Some factors associated with church attendance’, Social Forces 39, pp. 301–309.Google Scholar
  26. LenskiGerhard E.: 1953, ‘Social correlates of religious interest’, American Sociological Review 18, pp. 533–544.Google Scholar
  27. LietzJeremy J.: 1981, ‘Ranking social stigma: would you want one for a friend?’ Psychological Reports 53, pp. 353–354.Google Scholar
  28. McClureRobert F. and MaryLoden: 1982, ‘Religious activity, denomination membership and life satisfaction’, Psychology: A Journal of Human Behavior 19, pp. 12–17.Google Scholar
  29. MilletDavid: 1969, ‘A typology of religious organizations suggested by the Canadian census’, Sociological Analysis 30, pp. 108–119.Google Scholar
  30. MobergDavid O.: 1962, The Church as a Social Institution (Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey).Google Scholar
  31. OstheinerJohn M. and Clay L.MooreJr.: 1981, ‘The correlates of attitudes toward euthanasia: revisited’, Social Biology 28, pp. 145–149.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. PilkingtonG. W., Parrela K.Poppleton, Judith B.Gould, and Margaret M.McCourt: 1976, ‘Changes in religious beliefs, practices and attitudes among university students over an eleven-year period in relation to sex differences, denominational differences and differences between faculties and years of study’, British Journal of Social Clinical Psychology 15, pp. 1–9.Google Scholar
  33. Province of British Columbia: 1983, Vital Statistics of the Province of British Columbia, One Hundred and Ninth Report for the Year 1980 (and preceeding years). (Queen's Printer for British Columbia, Victoria, British Columbia).Google Scholar
  34. ScobieGeoffrey E. W.: 1975, The Psychology of Religion (Wiley, New York).Google Scholar
  35. ScottJ.: 1976, Canada's Religious Composition. 1971 Census Profile Series. Catalogue 99-710, Volume V, Part 1 (Information Canada, Ottawa).Google Scholar
  36. SimmonsJ. L.: 1965, ‘Public stereotypes of deviants’, Social Problems 13, pp. 223–232.Google Scholar
  37. Statistics Canada: 1987, Health and Social Support, 1985. General Social Survey Analysis Series, Housing, Family and Social Statistics Division, Catalogue number 11-612, No. 1 (Queen's Printer, Ottawa).Google Scholar
  38. Veevers, Jean E.: ‘The wayward west: regional variation in deviance in Canada’, forth-coming.Google Scholar
  39. VeeversJean E. and F. D.Cousineau: 1980, ‘The heathen Canadians: demographic correlates of nonbelief’, Pacific Sociological Review 23, pp. 199–216.Google Scholar
  40. VernonGlenn M.: 1968, ‘The religious ‘nones’: a neglected category’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 7, pp. 219–229.Google Scholar
  41. VernonGlenn M. and Jerry D.Cardwell: 1972, ‘Males, females and religion’, pp. 103–132 in Glenn M.Vernon (editor) Types and Dimensions of Religion (Association for the Study of Religion, Salt Lake City).Google Scholar
  42. WelchMichael R.: 1978, ‘Religious non-affiliates and worldly success’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 17, pp. 59–61.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen M. Gee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jean E. Veevers
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

Personalised recommendations