Do private schools make people religious?

Surely question 15 [on the ‘Judaeo-Christian tradition’] is just looking ahead a little – with an ever increasing proportion of the country’s children being funneled into Christian schools (as applauded by Andrew) Australia may yet become a Christian nation.

commenter Russell today.

With my CIS colleague Jennifer Buckingham I am working on a paper which looks at differences between people who went to government and non-government schools. I have a fair bit more work to do for my part of the project, which is examining surveys that ask respondents what kind of school they attended and then seeing if I can find any interesting differences between them. But some initial results from the 2005 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes might be of interest.

One pattern that does seem reasonably consistent is those who went to non-Catholic private schools are closer to people who went to government schools than those who went to Catholic schools (suggesting the difference may be Catholic/Protestant rather than public/private; an hypothesis I will need to explore).

This starts with the basic question of whether the respondent has a religion. 69% of people who went to government schools and 71% who went to non-Catholic private schools say they have a religion, compared to 86% of those who went to a Catholic school.
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