The NZ Herald reported on the Egypt’s plan to send Imam’s to fight radicalization in NZ. I will offer no opinion on this issue, given I have no knowledge of the extent of Islamic radicalisation in NZ. Nonetheless, one claim did catch my attention:
Muslims, now about 1 per cent of the population, are New Zealand’s fastest-growing religious group.
This claim to fastest-growth seemed suspiciously short of a credible source, so I tried to verify it by looking at the NZ census data, comparing the 2006 Census to the 2013.
This does not support that Muslims are the fastest-group religious group.
In absolute terms, the group that has experienced the greatest growth since 2006 was ‘No Religion”. This increased by 338,241 people.
In relative terms (and bearing in mind that if there is a small base of that affiliation in 2006, immigration can easily inflate the growth rate), the fastest growing groups are:
Sikh – the change from 9,507 to 19.191 is a 101.9% increase.
Janinism- the change from 111 to 207 is an 86.5% increase.
Hindu- the change from 64,392 to 89,919 is a 39.6% increase.
Muslims have gone from 36,072 to 46,149. That’s a 27.9% increase. That’s not that much different from the ‘No Religion’ affiliation at 26.1%. And that’s for a group that doesn’t benefit as much from immigration because of its high starting base.
So, no, Muslims are not the fastest growing religious group in NZ.