A new study finds that Canada's religious landscape has undergone significant changes in recent decades, including a decline in religious affiliation and a decrease in participation in individual and group religious activities.
The study "Religiosity in Canada and its evolution from 1985 to 2019" uses data from the General Social Survey to profile different patterns of religiosity in Canada and examine how they have changed since 1985.
Both religious affiliation and frequency of participation in group religious activities have trended downward in recent decades.
For example, the share of people who reported having a religious affiliation fell from 90% in 1985 to 68% in 2019.
Meanwhile, the share of those who attended a group religious activity at least once a month fell by almost half, from 43% to 23% over the same period.
Similar trends were also observed with respect to the practice of individual religious or spiritual activities and the importance given to religious and spiritual beliefs.
For example, in 2003, 71% of people reported that their religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat or very important, compared with 54% in 2019.
Finally, the proportion of people who engaged in religious or spiritual activities on their own at least once a week fell from 46% in 2006 to 30% in 2019
A clearer understanding of how Canadians' relationships with religion have evolved provides better insight into the country's cultural and social history of the country and the diversity of today's population.
New data from the 2021 Census will soon update the portrait of religious diversity in Canada by providing detailed information on religious affiliations and the people with these affiliations.