Welcome to British Religion in Numbers

British Religion in Numbers is an online religious data resource.

Numbers aren’t just for statisticians. People want to visualise and understand data for work, for study, for general interest, or to settle a debate: how large? how many? how typical?

British society has changed in many ways since the Second World War, and religious change is a major example. There is much public discussion of such issues as how secular Britain really is, how religiously diverse, whether people see political and religious identities as conflicting, and how polarised religious views actually are.

Religious data is also important for decision-making by local authorities, central government and other public bodies. Religion may have a role in supporting civic life. Religion may affect lifestyle and health, where people choose to live, and what opportunities are available to them.

To help answer such questions, quantitative data – from measures of observed behaviour or social surveys – is critical. A great deal of historical and contemporary data has been collected: BRIN aims to make it accessible to researchers of all backgrounds.

In particular, BRIN provides:

A comprehensive searchable database of religious data sources

We catalogue the full range of statistics on faith in Britain, in a searchable database:

  • government data sources
  • opinion polls
  • historical faith community sources.

Figures, maps and charts

We host a selection of maps and charts, illustrating religion in present-day Britain and religious change over time.

Written guides to understanding religious data

We provide guides on how to use and interpret religious statistics – for example, comparing different religious categories, change over time, or understanding how the way that data is collected by government or organisations might affect the results. There is also a detailed history of British religious statistics, and an overview of the British religious landscape to put the evidence in context.

BRIN is hosted at the University of Manchester and was originally (2008-10) made possible by the sponsorship of the Religion & Society Programme. Religion & Society was funded by two publicly-funded UK Research Councils: the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.

Since 2014, BRIN has been a designated British Academy Research Project.

5 Responses to Welcome to British Religion in Numbers

  1. John burton says:

    I am interested in the statistics of how the people of the uk have drifted away from religion in general over the years.
    Also the trends of what religions are more popular and how many people actually participate regularly or not.

  2. This new e-book from church consultant Peter Brierley may be of help: Does the 2030 Future Have a Church? The Current Christian Scene–Major Global and UK Trends, 2020 to 2030 (Tonbridge: ADBC Publishers, 2019, 123pp., including 46 tables and 44 figures, plus bibliography and index, ISBN: 978-0-9957646-3-7, £20). It can be ordered via http://www.brierleyconsultancy.com

  3. Karen Markey says:

    I am interested to know why Paganism is not included as an option on any forms. It is British and a Religion. There are aspects to consider in the workplace and would be significant in recording diversity. Many Pagans have historically had to select No Religion on official forms as there was no option to record as Pagan, this would skew the figures and give a mistaken account that British people are losing their faith. Admittedly, there are many varied branches of Paganism, but at least the umbrella religion could be recorded.

  4. Meric Srokosz says:

    I am interested in the percentage of the population actually attending church since the mid-17th century (post-Restoration) over time up to the present day. I can’t seem to find that information. Does it exist? At what time period can it be estimated? For every decade? Presumably over shorter periods (annually?) as you get closer to the present day…

  5. Thank you for your enquiry. It is not possible to give figures of church attendance by decade, still less annually, I am afraid. However, I have dealt with this matter in several of my own publications, with much of the data summarized in my book ‘Periodizing Secularization: Religious Allegiance and Attendance in Britain, 1880-1945’ (Oxford University Press, 2019). Although this work majors on the period given in the title, you will also find a chapter on the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and headline findings from my separate books on the long 1950s (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and the long 1960s (Oxford University Press, 2017) which take the story up to c.1980. I am currently working on another book that will deal, inter alia, with religious attendance in subsequent decades (and until the present).
    Clive D. Field

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