Using census data in the management of religious diversity: An Australian case study
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
Mapping and measuring religious diversity has become critical to the management of interreligious relations in the 21st century. The data about religious identification provided by the Australian census since the formation of Federal Government in Australia, and prior to that in the Colonies, has provided detailed information about the extent of and changes in religious diversity in the nation and in particular cities. Because the census also provides very detailed information about where people of different religions live, it can provide information about the extent to which religious groups are residentially segregated, a factor which affects how people of different religions relate to each other. The methodological issues related to measuring diversity are discussed and the utility in urban contexts of a 'dissimilarity scale' is demonstrated. The unique contribution of census data to the mapping and management of religious diversity in Australia is presented.