Commentaries

This part of the site hosts:

  • a history of British religious statistics
  • collations of British religious statistics
  • guides on using religious statistics
  • an overview of the British religious landscape.

For a brief overview of the current context of religious statistics, read more here.

Religion in Great Britain, 1939-99 – A Compendium of Gallup Poll Data

C. D. Field (February 2015)

Abstract: Sample surveys are a vital source of religious statistics. They were pioneered in Britain by the Gallup Poll, formerly known as the British Institute of Public Opinion, which was founded in 1937. Topline time series of Gallup’s principal published (and some unpublished) data on religion and the paranormal between 1939 and 1999 are here collated for the first time, in the form of 111 thematically-arranged tables, together with a subject index. An introduction provides a brief account of the history and methods of the Gallup Poll and of its publications and archives.

Click on the link above to access a copy in PDF format.

Religious Statistics in Great Britain: An Historical Introduction.

C. D. Field (November 2009)

Abstract: This essay summarizes the development of religious statistics in Great Britain from the seventeenth century to the present day. In particular, it describes the contributions made to the quantification of religion by the state, faith communities, and other agencies (social investigators, opinion pollsters, academic researchers, and print and broadcast media). A few reflections on future needs and prospects are also offered. Nine appendices provide additional historical and bibliographical detail about specific sources.

Click here for a copy in PDF format.

Reviews of UK Statistical Sources: Volume XX – Religion.

Reviews of UK Statistical Sources: Volume XX – Religion was originally published in 1987 as part of an extensive project funded by the ESRC and the Royal Statistical Society. The project aimed to catalogue the full range of statistical sources available in Britain. 29 separate volumes were eventually published.

The volume on religion volume catalogued sources on religion up to 1983. It was compiled by Lynda Barley, Clive Field, Barry Kosmin and Jørgen Nielsen, with a foreword from Peter Brierley.

This book is now very difficult to find outside libraries. In addition the religious landscape of Britain has changed greatly since then, as has the availability of data on religion. BRIN’s work is to revise and update the text on an ongoing basis. To make the original more widely available, we have created a digital edition in pdf format – available on the link above – and added a foreword.

It is reproduced with the kind permission of the ESRC and the Royal Statistical Society. Copyright to the digital edition is co-owned by the ESRC, RSS and the University of Manchester.