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


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.


Regional Variation Lower Proportion National Average General Social Survey Atlantic Province 
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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

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