Having a religious affiliation is believed to be of benefit to the individual, but also supports building social networks, civic engagement and voluntarism in a region. Philanthropy in the form of volunteering time or donating money is encouraged by all major religions. In the 2008 General Social Survey (GSS) by Statistics Canada, 20% of the population of Ontario and 16.7% of the Canadian population reported they participated in a religious organization in the last 12 months.
2004 findings suggest those who attend religious services are more likely to volunteer their time than those who do not (62% vs. 43%) and they volunteer more time (229 hours vs. 147 hours). Those who attend religious services weekly are 19% of the population and they give 35% of all volunteer hours in Canada Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, 2004
In Niagarain 2001, 84.09% reported they had a religious affiliation, and 15.65% reported they had no religious affiliation. In this study, the term affiliation was not a measure of the level of affiliation or how current or active the engagement was. Niagara reported more religious affiliation than most other regions and municipalities in the province. Source: Statistics Canada Census 2001, Community Profiles
Changes in religious mix in Canada and future projections: The growth trajectories of religious mix in Canada and for selected census metropolitan areas 2006 to 2031 were developed by Mata Policy Research Group in 2010 using the micro-simulation population projections carried out by Statistics Canada and released in March, 2010. http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/wmc/2011/posters/11/
Religious Mix-Growth in Canadian Cities the projected data 2006-2031 (Mata, Dept. Canadian Heritage): states:
- Non-Christian to Christian ratio will double 2006-2031 (from 15 to 30 per 100)
- The “no religion” to “religion” ratio will remain stable at about 26 per 100 by 2031
- Non-Christian to Christian ratios will be equal or higher than 45 per 100 in cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, Abbotsford by 2031
- “Overall findings suggest that greater intra-Christian and intra-Non Christian diversity will be seen across cities of various sizes and geographies and they will co-exist with the more secular pattern of reporting No- religion in the next two decades” (p. 2).
- By 2031, 37% will have Catholic affiliations; 21% Protestant ones; 15% non-Christian affiliations; and 16% no religion.
- The largest Christian group will be Catholics, concentrated in 33 metropolitan areas where 74% of the Canadian population will live ( 9.2 million/2006; 10.7 million/2031)
- The largest non-Christian group, with Muslim affiliations will increase at a faster rate, growing from less than 1 million in 2006 to 2.7 million by 2031.
- It is also postulated that “shifts in the religious mix will present important challenges for the development of welcoming and inclusive programs strengthening Canadian identity in very plural religious environments” (p. 3).
|Area||2006(‘000)||Projected Pop.2031 (‘000)||2006ratio||2011ratio||2016ratio||2021ratio||2026ratio||2031ratio|
|St. Catharines-Niagara: Non Christian to Christian ratio||404||433||3.0||4.3||5.2||6.2||7.5||8.5|
|All CMA’s: Non Christian to Christian||22,141||31,032||15.0||18.2||21.2||24.2||27.2||30.1|
|St. Catharine’s- Niagara: No religion to religion ratios||404||433||19.2||20.5||21.9||23.3||24.4||25.9|
|All CMAs: No religion to religion ratios||22,141||31,032||22.1||23.2||24.1||25.0||26.7||26.4|
Stats Can – Table A2: Projections of the Diversity of the Canadian Population
Note: The many religious groups in Niagara provide spiritual care, social connections, donations and voluntarism in their own community and in the wider Niagara community.