WITH just over a week to go until the national Census, campaigners are urging Australians to answer "no religion".
The Atheist Foundation of Australia wants people who were born into a religion but no longer practice it to think about their answer in the upcoming Census.
Leaders of the campaign said it wasn't against religion, but was aimed at giving the Australian Bureau of Statistics accurate data.
"Marking the 'no religion' box simply means you don't currently practice a religion nor consider yourself to be religiously observant," an AFA spokesperson said.
"By marking the 'no religion' box, respondents send a compelling message to governments and policy makers about Australia's secular population, which is growing significantly.
"From 1911 - 2011 the number of Australians marking 'no religion' rose from 0.4% to 22.3%. In the most recent Census in 2011, only 'Catholic' had a higher response rate, at 25%."
The AFA urged people not to answer with joke religions like "Jedi" or "Pastafarian".
"Census data is used by governments when making planning and policy decisions on issues such as housing, social security, transport, education, industry, shops and hospitals," the spokesperson said.
"While it may be funny, it makes no difference and is a wasted answer."
The campaign was instigated and funded by the Atheist Foundation of Australia, with help from crowdfunding efforts and other groups such as the Rationalist Society of Australia, Sydney Atheists, and the Humanist Society of Victoria.
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