Islam, Hinduism on the rise in Ipswich

THE stretch of the Warrego Highway from Karana Downs to Wacol is Ipswich's very own road to Damascus.

In Wacol, 94 per cent of people said they were believers in some form of religion, which could be put down to the number of correctional facilities in the area.

On the other end of the spectrum, Karana Downs was the most "godless" place in the Ipswich region with the least number of people who believe in a higher power.

"Prison population can be quite devout," demographer Bernard Salt said.

"Everyone else has given up on them and they find salvation through religious affiliation."

In Ipswich between 2011 and 2016, the religions with the highest levels of growth were Hindu (89 per cent) and Islam (68 per cent), while followers of the Lutheran, Anglican, Uniting Church, Presbyterian and Reformed denominations dropped off.

Catholic (4 per cent) and Pentecostal (17 per cent) saw bumps in local numbers.

The numbers of those in Ipswich who did not identify with a religion rose by 53 per cent.

Mr Salt believed this was a reaction to the Royal Commission into Child Abuse.

"People didn't like what they were hearing and they refused to identify with the Christian religions," Mr Salt said.

"This is a God-fearing, generally conservative community who I think, when I look at the bigger picture here, have been really let down by this royal commission.

"You can see that in the way they have voted to not identify with the Christian religion and yet they are devout people.

"There is an issue here.

"I can't identify with that religion but I'm still a believer, that's what the people are saying."

The high rate of migration of people from Asian countries was leading to an increase in believers of Islam and Hinduism.

"(Ipswich) is quite a socially progressive area," Mr Salt said.

"(It's) on trend with Australian thinking.

"You don't suffer from the same social cohesion issues that I see surfacing on the western flank of Melbourne."