More residents have no religious affiliation compared to 10 years ago, Singapore News & Top Stories
While Singapore remains religiously diverse, more residents aged 15 and over reported having no religious affiliation compared to 10 years ago.
The increase affects most types of degrees as well as all age groups, and was more common among younger and Chinese residents, according to the latest population census released yesterday.
The proportion of people with no religious affiliation rose three percentage points to 20 percent last year.
Chinese residents had a significantly higher proportion of self-identifying (25.7%) than Malays (0.4%) and Indians (2.2%).
Among Singapore residents aged 15 and over last year, 31.1% identified as Buddhists, 8.8% as Taoists, 18.9% as Christians, 15.6% as Muslims and 5% as Hindus.
Over the past decade, the share of Christians and Muslims has increased slightly while that of Buddhists and Taoists has declined slightly.
Among the Chinese, Buddhists remained the largest group with 40.4% in 2020, despite a decline from 43% in 2010.
Some 98.8% of Malaysians were Muslim, a number relatively unchanged from 10 years ago.
Hinduism remained the most common religion among Indians (57.3%) in 2020, followed by Islam (23.4%), Christianity (12.6%) and Sikhism (3.4% ).
Younger residents were more likely to have no religious affiliation, although the proportion of Singapore residents who identified as such increased across all age groups.
In 2020, 24.2% of residents aged 15 to 24 reported having no religious affiliation, which is higher than the 15.2% of residents aged 55 and over.
A greater proportion of older residents were Buddhists or Taoists compared to those in younger age groups.
While Buddhists made up 35.1% and Taoists 13.1% of residents aged 55 and over in 2020, the corresponding proportions were lower at 24.9% and 4.9% among residents aged 15 to 24 years.
In contrast, a greater proportion of residents in younger age groups identified themselves as Muslim than those in older age groups.
The proportion of Christians was similar in all age groups.
The proportion of residents without religious affiliation has also increased in most types of degrees.
Among graduates with less than high school education, the proportion without religious affiliation rose from 9.9% to 11.6%.
The proportion of university graduates increased from 24.2% to 27.8%.
Singapore University of Management associate professor of law, Eugene Tan, said that not having a religious affiliation does not mean that you are an atheist.
On the contrary, he explained, it means that one does not identify with any particular religion at the moment. “One possibility is that Singaporeans seek to be firm in their religious affiliations and thus spend more time learning about different religions.”
What is important, he said, is to maintain a secular approach to governance in Singapore, given that the proportions between different religions, as well as those without religion, will change over time.
The census – carried out every 10 years – questioned 150,000 households in 2020 for its last iteration. It primarily focuses on the resident population, which includes citizens and permanent residents. Singapore’s total population grew from 5.077 million in 2010 to 5.686 million last year.