On 29 April the Department for Communities and Local Government released two further topic reports from the 2008-09 Citizenship Survey, relating respectively to empowered communities and to volunteering and charitable giving. They are available to download from:
The Citizenship Survey is conducted by face-to-face interview among a representative sample of adults aged 16 and over in England and Wales, including an ethnic minority booster sample. 14,917 interviews were conducted by NatCen between April 2008 and March 2009.
The empowered communities report includes a breakdown by religion of participation in civic engagement and formal volunteering. Of the major faith groups, Buddhists are revealed as being most active (69%), followed by Christians (64%), those of no religion (58%), Muslims (48%), Sikhs (47%) and Hindus (46%). Jews are not separately returned. Figures are also provided for three categories of civic engagement by religion.
In terms of influencing decisions in their local area, a somewhat different pattern emerges. Sikhs are most hopeful (61%), with Muslims on 49%, Hindus on 48%, Buddhists on 47%, Christians on 39% and those of no religion on 37%. All groups feel they have much less say over decision-making at national level, the high being 49% for Sikhs and the low 20% for those identifying with no religion.
The volunteering and charitable giving topic report includes no breaks by religious profession, but the links between faith and formal volunteering are otherwise explored. For example, of those who have engaged in formal volunteering during the past twelve months, 33% have helped religious organizations. The proportion rises progressively with age, from 22% among the 16-25s to 50% for the 75+ cohort. It stands at 56% for ethnic minorities as a whole, compared with 31% for whites, and at 65% for Afro-Caribbeans.
Places of worship are a source of information about potential opportunities for formal volunteering for 21% of the sample, but especially for those aged 65 and over (35%). Religious motivations for regular formal volunteering are cited by 17% of all adults and by twice this number among the elderly and ethnic minorities.
With regard to charitable giving, 74% of adults give to charity of whom one-fifth (15%) give through a collection at a place of worship. This figure stands at 20% for the 65-74s and 23% of the 75+ group, reflecting the elderly profile of most congregations. By ethnicity it is 13% for whites and 31% for ethnic minorities, underlining the greater religious practice of the latter. During the four weeks prior to interview the average amount given in a collection at a place of worship was £31.
Anybody interested in running fuller analyses from the Citizenship Survey, 2008-09 can access the dataset at the Economic and Social Data Service as SN 6388. A topic report on race, religion and equalities will be published in due course.