Quebec – a highly religious province?
Quebec – “No Religion” at one third of the national average?
One of the best examples of this structural underestimation is Quebec. According to the 2001 census, only 5.6% of Quebec’s population has no religion – approximately one third of the national average. For those who are not already aware, Quebecois nationalism has been a very potent force in Canadian politics – past and present. And the Roman Catholic church was historically a huge part of Quebec’s cultural identity. Since the Quiet Revolution in the 1960’s, the role of religion in Quebec society has changed and nowadays it is often regarded as the least religious province in the country.
In the 2008 Harris-Decima poll on religion, 67% of French Canadians claimed to believe in a god, slightly less likely than their counterparts in English Canada at 73%. But only 3.9% of Canadians who only speak French claimed “No Religion” in the 2001 Census. Furthermore, every three years StatsCan contributes to a survey called The National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating. The purpose of this survey is to gather data on charities but it also gathers data on the rate of attendance at religious services. In 2007, 17% of Canadians were said to have attended religious services on a weekly basis. In Quebec, the rate was only 10% – which was the lowest in the nation. B.C. was the second lowest province at 16.2%.
Percentage of population that attends weekly religious services by province/territory, 2007 Canadian Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participating
When the current census question reports that Quebec has a rate of irreligion that is one third of the national average, you know you’re dealing with highly flawed or perhaps even intentionally misleading statistical methodology.