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Australian Census of 2016 Reveals Some Captivating Facts about Hindus

As compared to 2016, this year there were more Hindus celebrating the Ganesh festival in Australia

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Hindus in Australia have increased since 2011 Census. Wikimedia
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  • As compared to 2016, this year there were more Hindus celebrating the Ganesh festival in Australia
  • The Hindu population in Australia has increased by 60% in 2016 since the Census of 2011
  • The median age of Hindus residing in Australia was calculated to be 31 years

Australia, August 27, 2017: The Ganesh festival of 10 days is amongst the most important Hindu festivals and this year it was celebrated on 25 August. As compared to 2016, this year there were more Hindus celebrating this festival. The Census of Population and Housing conducted in 2016 displayed that in Australia Hindu religion was growing the fastest between the year 2011 and year 2016.

As per the 2016 Census, around 440,300 people in Australia reported that they are Hindus which counts up to 1.9% of the total population. This shows an increase of 60% since the Census of 2011 which represented that the population of Hindus was 275,535.

ALSO READ: Sankashti Chaturthi: Here is Why it is celebrated in Hinduism to honor Lord Ganesha!

New South Wales, Australia’s most crowded state with a population amounting to just under 7.5 million, houses around 180,000 Hindus.The Australian Capital territory had nearly 2.6% of the total population, i.e, 400,000 people reporting Hinduism as their religion.

The Australian suburbs comprising largest amount of Hindus reside in Victoria and New South Wales- Point Cook (VIC), Tarneit (VIC), Blacktown (NSW), Parramatta (NSW), and Westmead (NSW).

The interesting part is that Western Sydney houses the suburbs of NSW containing highest number of Hindus-

Wentworthville (35%), Westmead (41%), Bungarribee (37%), Girraween (43%) and Harris Park (45%).

Hinduism is more prevalent in the younger generation. The median age of people following Hinduism in Australia was calculated to be 31 years which is much lower when compared to the median age of overall Australian population, 38 years.

Only 51% of the total Hindu population living in Australia were India-born. About 27% hindus in Australia speak Hindi, 13% speak English and 12% speak Tamil with these three languages being the most common.

The Census conducted in 2016 made use of the recent approach of “digital first” that used newly built Address Register. On the night of the censes, however, an attack of distributed denial of service from another country occurred due to which the forms available online had to be shut down for longer than a day. This incident led to the generation of an independent panel was established comprising international and australian academics, statisticians and  representatives of state government for reviewing and assuring quality outputs from this census.

David W Kalisch, an Australian statistician said, “The 2016 Census had a response rate of 95.1 per cent and a net undercount of 1.0 per cent, meaning the quality is comparable to both previous Australian Censuses and Censuses in other countries, such as New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom.”

He further added, “Sixty-three per cent of people completed the Census online, embracing the digital-first approach and contributing to faster data processing and data quality improvements.”

The ABS conducted a variety of quality checks, which included a Post Enumeration Survey, just to make sure that the data was reliable. “These quality assurance measures, and a range of other factors were considered and verified by the Panel,” he said.

-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter @Hkaur


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Shankaracharya: A remarkable genius that Hinduism produced (Book Review)

The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara's philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.

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He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita
He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita.

Title: Adi Shankaracharya: Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker; Author: Pavan K. Varma; Publisher: Tranquebar Press; Pages: 364; Price: Rs 699

This must be one of the greatest tributes ever paid to Shankaracharya, the quintessential “paramarthachintakh”, who wished to search for the ultimate truths behind the mysteries of the universe. His genius lay in building a complete and original philosophical edifice upon the foundational wisdom of the Upanishads.

A gifted writer, Pavan Varma, diplomat-turned-politician and author of several books including one on Lord Krishna, takes us through Shankara’s short but eventful span of life during which, from having been born in what is present-day Kerala, he made unparalleled contributions to Hindu religion that encompassed the entire country. Hinduism has not seen a thinker of his calibre and one with such indefatigable energy, before or since.

Shankara’s real contribution was to cull out a rigorous system of philosophy that was based on the essential thrust of Upanishadic thought but without being constrained by its unstructured presentation and contradictory meanderings.

He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita. He wrote extensive and definitive commentaries on each of them. Of course, the importance he gave to the Mother Goddess, in the form of Shakti or Devi, can be traced to his own attachment to his mother whom he left when he set off, at a young age, in search of a guru and higher learning.

The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara's philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.
Shankara wrote hymns in praise of many deities but his personal preference was the worship of the Mother Goddess.

Against all odds, Shankara created institutions for the preservation and propagation of Vedantic philosophy. He established “mathas” with the specific aim of creating institutions that would develop and project the Advaita doctrine. He spoke against both caste discriminations and social inequality, at a time when large sections of conservative Hindu opinion thought otherwise.

Shankara was both the absolutist Vedantin, uncompromising in his belief in the non-dual Brahman, and a great synthesiser, willing to assimilate within his theoretical canvas several key elements of other schools of philosophy. He revived and restored Hinduism both as a philosophy and a religion that appealed to its followers.

Also Read: Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know

Varma rightly says that it must have required great courage of conviction as well as deep spiritual and philosophical insight for Shankaracharya to build on the insights of the Upanishads a structure of thought, over a millennium ago, that saw the universe and our own lives within it with a clairvoyance that is being so amazingly endorsed by science today. The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara’s philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.

Shankara wrote hymns in praise of many deities but his personal preference was the worship of the Mother Goddess. The added value of the book is that it has, in English, a great deal of Shankara’s writings. Unfortunately, most Hindus today are often largely uninformed about the remarkable philosophical foundations of their religion. They are, the author points out, deliberately choosing the shell for the great treasure that lies within. This is indeed a rich book. (IANS)