O ye of little faith.
It seems that saying might be more broadly applied in the Illawarra judging by the initial results of the 2016 Census released on Tuesday.
While the 2016 Census release on Tuesday give us a snapshot of the country it also gives us a helicopter view of the region we live in and the people who live within in.
It gives us a glimpse of the emerging trends in the community which we will continue to investigate and report on as more and more of the census data gets released.
The 2016 Census showed a marked increase in people electing to nominate “no religion” in the Illawarra.
It was a theme which was mirrored more broadly across the country.
The national table show a continuing decline in the Christian faith generally since 1966, almost mirrored by the rise of people declaring they had “no religion”.
Almost one third of Australians now declare they are not religious, which is a dramatic shift from the 1960s when the majority of Australians agreed they were indeed of Christian faith.
Despite the alarmist cries of some politicians that we are becoming a “Muslim country”, the 2016 Census would something far different.
By far the most significant growth actually came from Hinduism.
Just 2.6 per cent of the national population signalled they follow the Islamic faith, just a little more than Buddhism at 2.4 per cent.
Maybe now those who thrive on the scaremongering can perhaps now cease and desist, but that might be asking a little too much.
Across the Illawarra there were many interesting findings.
Monthly mortgage repayments had largely remained unchanged in the last five years. On the other hand, those paying rent had seen an significant increase in their rental bill.
Overall, the census confirms what we see around us on a daily basis.
We are a growing region and southern parts of the region such as Shellharbour and Kiama have signalled strong population growth.
And we are culturally diverse.
Two out of five residents (40.8%) had at least one parent born overseas and the top languages other than English spoken at home were Macedonian (2.2%) and Italian (1.5%).