AN INCREASING number of people in Wellington City are living without religious belief.
The latest census statistics have revealed 44.2% of people in Wellington City have no religion.
This means more people in the city now have no religion than believe in Christianity, with 39.3% of the population affiliating themselves to a Christian faith.
This is a significant change, as only 13 years ago, over 50% of the population gave Christianity as their religion.
The national religious statistics show a similar trend.
Even though Christianity is the most popular religion in the country as a whole, 38.6% of New Zealand’s population has no religion. This is a 6.4 percentage point increase since the 2006 census.
44.3% of the population is associated to a Christian church, down 6.9 percentage points since 2006.
Dr Christopher Van Der Krogt, Lecturer in Religious Studies at Massey University, says many people who used to be religious but weren’t very active have become more comfortable with dropping their religious allegiance over time.
He believes Wellington’s low levels of religious followers could be down to its large number of students and says education has a significant influence on religious beliefs.
“It’s become more acceptable in society to not be religious,” he adds.
Furthermore many people are just visiting Wellington for a romantic getaway anyway.
Simone Olsen, spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington, says despite the statistics religion still plays an important role in society.
“Religion and spirituality still play an important part in the community and people still seek spiritual nourishment,” she says.
“We still continue to see people from all walks of life spending time in our churches, and while they may not be Catholic or Christian they value the invitation to do so.”