Counting Religion in Britain, January 2016

 

Counting Religion in Britain, No. 4, January 2016 features 25 new sources. It can be read in full below. Alternatively, you can download the PDF version: No 4 January 2016

OPINION POLLS

Nones

On 19 January 2016 Professor Linda Woodhead of Lancaster University delivered a lecture at The British Academy on ‘Why “No Religion” is the New Religion’. It can be listened to at:

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2016/Why_no_religion_is_the_new_religion.cfm

The lecture was partly underpinned by an opinion poll designed by Woodhead and undertaken by YouGov among an online sample of 1,668 adult Britons on 21-22 December 2015. Asked to give their religious affiliation, 46% of adults replied that they did not regard themselves as belonging to any particular religion (i.e. they were ‘nones’), more than the 44% self-identifying as Christians (including 28% as Anglican and 8% as Roman Catholic). Nones constituted the majority among the two youngest age cohorts, being 60% of 18-24s and 55% of 25-39s, and also among Scots (52%) and Liberal Democrats (51%). They were least likely to be found among the over-60s (34%). The data table can be found on YouGov’s archive website, filed under 21 January 2016, at:

https://yougov.co.uk/publicopinion/archive/

A press release from Lancaster University on 18 January, which was the basis for much of the pre-lecture media coverage, pointed out that the proportion of nones had increased from previous YouGov surveys (being 37% in January 2013 and 42% in February 2015). In her lecture, Woodhead anticipated that ‘this trend will continue because nones tend to be young whereas Christians tend to be old; nones are being hatched while Christians are being dispatched’. Based on her previous research, both the press release and the lecture also provided some context and commentary about the religious profile of nones, who are by no means entirely secular when it comes to belief in God or even religious practices. This release can be found at:

http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/news/articles/2016/why-no-religion-is-the-new-religion/

Andrew Atherstone, the evangelical Anglican theologian and historian, has an article about Woodhead’s research on nones in The Tablet for 30 January 2016 (pp. 8-9), critiquing not so much her data as her interpretation of them. This is available online, to subscribers only, at:

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/features/2/7829/religious-nones-on-the-rise-but-what-s-the-truth-behind-the-data-an-evangelical-theologian-explains

Same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage has been legal in England and Wales since March 2014 and in Scotland since December 2014. During the past three years supporters of same-sex marriage in Britain have increased from being a plurality (46% in January 2013) to a majority (56% in January 2016). This more liberal attitude has been reflected in affiliates of most religious denominations and faiths, although in many, including the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, it is still only a plurality which believes that same-sex marriage is right, just 8% ahead of Anglicans and 9% of Catholics who say it is wrong. Nones were overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage in both years. A few headline statistics are tabulated below. The 2013 data are taken from one of Linda Woodhead’s YouGov polls, those for 2016 from a YouGov poll commissioned by Jayne Ozanne (Church of England General Synod member and gay rights activist), for which 6,276 Britons were interviewed online on 19-21 January 2016. Two sets of data tables are available, one for all adults disaggregated by religious affiliation and one for professing Anglicans disaggregated by demographics. They can be found on YouGov’s archive website, filed under 29 January 2016, at:

https://yougov.co.uk/publicopinion/archive/

% down

All

Anglican Catholic

None

January 2013        
Right

46

38 36

63

Wrong

34

43 44

20

Don’t know

20

19 20

17

January 2016
Right

56

45 45

70

Wrong

27

37 36

16

Don’t know

17

19 20

14

Veracity of groups

Trust in clergy and priests to tell the truth has fallen by 18 points in Britain since 1983 (when they were the most trusted of all professions), according to the 2015 Ipsos MORI Veracity Index, conducted by face-to-face interview of 990 adults between 5 December 2015 and 4 January 2016. Although 67% do still trust clergy and priests to tell the truth, this is slightly less than say the same about hairdressers (69%) and the ordinary man/woman in the street (68%), and it is considerably less than trust doctors (89%) and teachers (86%). Just over one-quarter (27%) doubt the veracity of clergy and priests, and the proportion exceeds one-third among members of Generation X, skilled manual workers, and residents of southern England outside London. For further details, see the news blog (including a link to the full data tables) at:

https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3685/Politicians-are-still-trusted-less-than-estate-agents-journalists-and-bankers.aspx

Hate crime

In a poll released for Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January 2016, 22% of UK adults claim to have witnessed at least one hate crime or hate incident based on religion or beliefs in the last year. The research was conducted by Censuswide, on behalf of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, among a sample of 2,007 respondents aged 16 and over between 2 and 7 December 2015. The Trust’s press release about the survey is at:

http://hmd.org.uk/news/quarter-british-public-have-witnessed-race-hate-last-year-two-thirds-regret-not-intervening

Radicalization

On 18 January 2016, Prime Minister David Cameron announced a £20 million initiative to improve the English language skills of Muslim women living in England. The somewhat muddled rationales for so doing included the promotion of integration, the deterring of support for extremism, and the advancement of gender equality. However, the public appears sceptical about the initiative’s potential value as a counter-extremism measure, according to a poll of 5,092 YouGov panellists in the UK on 19 January 2016. Only one-quarter felt the requirement for Muslim women to learn English would reduce radicalization in the Muslim community, while 14% thought that it would simply make matters worse; the remainder judged it would have a neutral effect (43%) or were undecided (18%). Full results are at:

https://yougov.co.uk/opi/surveys/results#/survey/f0497730-be91-11e5-979a-005056900127/question/fa396930-be91-11e5-979a-005056900127/toplines

Donald Trump and Muslims

Following his call for a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has been incurring somewhat of a backlash, both in his own country and abroad, including in the UK. Here a petition calling on the Government to ban Trump from entering the UK attracted so many signatures that it warranted a debate in Parliament. Trump has retaliated by threatening to pull £700 million of planned investment in golf in Scotland if he is refused entry into the UK. Asked by Survation on behalf of the Daily Record what the Government should do in these circumstances, a plurality (47%) of 1,029 Scots interviewed online on 8-12 January 2016 opposed any ban on Trump travelling to the UK while 40% favoured it, the latter disproportionately women, under-35s, and Scottish National Party voters. The full data can be found in Table 58 at:

http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Final-Scomnibus-I-Tables-DR-1c0d2h9-51.pdf

Islamic State (1)

A poll published in the Evening Standard on 8 January 2016, but based on online fieldwork by BMG Research among 1,585 UK adults on 9-15 December 2015, found that a plurality (44%) of respondents opposed the deployment of British ground troops in Syria and Iraq in order to defeat Islamic State (IS). One-third were in favour and 23% undecided. Opinion was sharply divided about the wisdom of letting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad remain in power to combat IS, on the lesser of two evils principle, IS constituting a much bigger threat to the UK than Assad’s regime. Some two-fifths of adults could not make up their minds on this matter, with 35% supporting Assad to defeat IS and 26% not, even if it meant that more territory was lost to IS. Data tables are at:

http://www.bmgresearch.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/CONFIDENTIAL-BMG-Poll-Evening-Standard-080116.pdf

Islamic State (2)

Four-fifths (82%) of Britons regard Islamic State (IS) as an enemy of the UK and 90% consider it has a bad record on human rights, according to a poll by YouGov, conducted online on 5-6 January 2016 among a sample of 1,779 adults. Most of the rest expressed no view, albeit 2% overall (and 5% in Scotland) curiously rated IS as friendly towards the UK. IS also easily topped a list of 11 countries for constituting the greatest threat to the UK, scoring 86%. Data tables can be found at:

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/ac790k63k8/InternalResults_160106_SaudiArabia_Website.pdf

Islamic State (3)

Two-thirds of Londoners are very (25%) or fairly (41%) worried about the prospect of a terror attack on London by Islamic State (IS) during the course of 2016. This is according to a YouGov poll for LBC Radio among an online sample of 1,156 London adults on 4-6 January 2016. Most concerned were the over-60s (83%), Conservative voters (82%), and those in favour of Britain leaving the European Union (81%). About one-quarter were not very or not at all worried about IS attacking London and 8% were undecided (including 23% of the under-25s). Data tables are available at:

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/6npv0yq1wf/LBCResults_London_Boris_EUReferendum_ISISterroristattack_160106_W2.pdf

Sunday trading

The campaign to extend Sunday trading hours in England and Wales (currently limited to a maximum of six for large stores) continues to bubble along below the surface. There is naturally particular interest in such extension among London retailers, and the New West End Company has recently released fresh polling on the subject. Conducted by ComRes online on 7-14 December 2015, it has especial relevance since respondents comprised 850 retail employees in London, 55% of whom were Christians (who have traditionally observed Sundays as a day of rest). Of the whole sample, only 5% never had to work on Sundays and 60% worked every Sunday or every other Sunday. Approximately two-thirds of all retail employees supported plans to extend Sunday trading hours, viewed them in a positive light, and anticipated that they would benefit them personally (both financially and in terms of offering greater flexibility in manage their own time). Even more, around three-quarters, recognized that London requires more flexible shopping hours to accommodate the needs of the capital’s residents and tourists and to compete with online retailers. Full data tables, including breaks by religious affiliation, are at:

http://www.comres.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/New-West-End-Company-Sunday-Trading-Research_ComRes_data-tables.pdf

FAITH ORGANIZATION STUDIES

Scottish church census

Plans have been announced for a fourth voluntary census of churchgoing in Scotland, to be taken among the country’s 4,000 places of Christian worship on 8 May 2016. It is being sponsored by a consortium of denominations and organizations who have commissioned Peter Brierley of Brierley Consultancy to organize the census by means of a two-page postal questionnaire (which can alternatively be completed online). Brierley has been involved in the three previous Scottish church censuses, in 1984, 1994, and 2002. Statistics will be gathered about the size of congregations at both Sunday and mid-week services, with numbers broken down by gender, age, and frequency of attendance. There will also be some sponsored questions. The final report will be published during spring 2017. Meanwhile, a leaflet about the census is available at:

http://static1.squarespace.com/static/54228e0ce4b059910e19e44e/t/56377c30e4b0f705d4f3efc4/1446476848387/SCOTTISH+CHURCH+Census+4pager+2015.pdf

History of Christian Research

Peter Brierley has also been busy writing a valuable 4,800-word personal history of the Christian Research Association. This commenced as MARC Europe in 1983, with Brierley (the former Cabinet Office statistician and director of the Bible Society) in charge. When it had to be closed down after ten years, following the withdrawal of the subsidy from World Vision, Brierley established the Christian Research Association (usually known as just Christian Research) as a charity in 1993, and with the same aims as MARC Europe. Christian Research ceased to exist as an independent entity in 2008, when it was incorporated into the Bible Society, where it nominally exists. Brierley opted to set up his own consultancy in 2007, which he still runs, carrying on – in necessarily attenuated form – the research, publishing, and training programmes which had been associated with MARC Europe and Christian Research. To request a copy of the history, contact Brierley at:

peter@brierleyres.com

Evangelicals and health

‘Warning: the Church is seriously good for your health’. So claims the Evangelical Alliance in reporting (in the January-February 2016 issue of Idea magazine, pp. 14-15) the headline results of its online survey of the views of 1,703 self-selecting and self-identifying UK evangelicals at the end of 2015. The claim is based on the finding that ‘more than nine out of 10 evangelicals had been in good health during the past year compared to just three quarters of all English adults’. No attempt is made to explore the social correlates of good health which might explain these differences. Moreover, 93% of evangelicals agreed that they should lead healthy lifestyles to look after their God-given bodies, and 82% were opposed to the legalization of assisted dying. Miraculous healing of the sick was believed in by 98%, while 94% reported that their church offered prayer when they or a loved-one were seriously ill, albeit 59% felt there was scope for churches to strengthen their healing ministry. One-half of evangelicals thought that Christians should never try yoga nor hypnotherapy. The article is available at:

http://www.eauk.org/idea/upload/idea_magazine_january_february2016.pdf

Church of England statistics for mission, 2014

Newly-released statistics for mission for 2014 reveal that the Church of England’s overall steady long-term numerical decline is continuing, affecting all principal measures of religious participation. Most media attention on the release focused on average all-age weekly attendance at church during October, which fell below one million for the first time since the metric was introduced in 2000, to 980,000 or 1.8% of the population and 12% less than in 2004, although this figure excludes 145,000 attending services for schools held in churches. Usual Sunday attendance stood even lower, at 765,000, compared with 1,606,000 when that metric was inaugurated in 1968. Only at Christmas does the Church of England exert significant quantitative reach in terms of churchgoing, drawing in 2,400,000 attenders for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services (equivalent to 4.3% of the population), together with 2,200,000 at Advent services for the congregation and local community, and 2,600,000 at Advent services for civic organizations and schools. Take-up of the Church’s rites of passage, traditionally one of the broadest indicators of its appeal, has decreased more steeply than for churchgoing over the past decade: by 12% for baptisms, 19% for marriages, and 29% for funerals. Just 12% of babies now receive an Anglican baptism and 31% of deceased persons an Anglican funeral (against 41% in 2004). The 58-page report, incorporating extensive disaggregation to diocesan level (which naturally pinpoints some exceptions to the general trend) can be found at:

https://www.churchofengland.org/media/2432327/2014statisticsformission.pdf

Archives of Faith in the City

The archives of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Urban Priority Areas (ACUPA), which was appointed in 1983 and produced the seminal if – in some circles – controversial report on Faith in the City: A Call for Action by Church and Nation in 1985, have now become available for consultation at the Church of England Record Centre. They extend to 30 boxes and 512 files, among them records of the research submitted to or commissioned by ACUPA. This includes the interview survey by Gallup Poll of 402 Anglican stipendiary parochial clergy in February-March 1985, designed to elucidate differences between those serving in Urban Priority Areas and elsewhere in terms of background, experience, and attitudes. A hierarchical catalogue for the archives can be browsed at:

http://archives.lambethpalacelibrary.org.uk/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=ACUPA

Economic impact of St Vincent de Paul Society

Oxera Consulting has completed an economic impact study of the work in England and Wales of the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP), an international Roman Catholic voluntary organization founded in 1833 which tackles poverty and provides assistance to those in need. In its report, entitled Economic Impact of Visiting and Befriending, Oxera assessed that the visiting and befriending activities of the SVP in England and Wales have a positive economic benefit by: avoiding costs to the National Health Service; improving the quality of life of the beneficiaries; enhancing labour market outcomes; and, in the longer term, reducing costs to social services. In practice, not all the benefits could be quantified, but those which could be suggested that, conservatively, SVP’s 10,000 volunteers generate a net £11 million of welfare improvement each year, albeit the majority of this sum apparently accrues to increased wellbeing of the volunteers themselves. The report, which sets out the full workings on costs and benefits, can be read at:

http://www.oxera.com/Latest-Thinking/Publications/Reports/2015/Oxera-identifies-economic-welfare-improvement-of-%C2%A3.aspx

Baptist ministry

The final report of a review of Baptist ministry undertaken by the Ignite Project Team includes (at pp. 10-18) a statistical snapshot of the ministry, mainly extracted from the database of the Baptist Union of Great Britain Ministries Department. The database contained 2,711 names as at 22 September 2015, including those in training and applicants. Of the 1,521 active ministers, 83 per cent were men and 61 per cent were aged 51 and over, with an additional 979 ministers on the retired list. Since 1985 the number of ministers enrolled each year has been trending upwards and has exceeded that of ministers retiring, except in 2014, although the gap is narrowing. As a consequence of the growth in ministers, there were actually fewer Baptist churches without a minister in 2015 than in 1995 (440, or 23%, versus 723), and there has been a significant increase in churches with three or four ministers. About one-quarter of ministers are estimated to be part-time. The report is available at:

http://www.baptist.org.uk/Groups/259034/Ignite.aspx

Cost of (Jewish) living

Writing in The Jewish Chronicle for 8 January 2016, two economists (Anthony Tricot and Andrea Silberman) have estimated the additional costs of a Jewish lifestyle in the UK (the so-called ‘Jewish premium’) as £12,700 per family a year. The additional costs were broken down as follows: £5,900 for a property in North-West London (one-fifth of British Jews living in Barnet); £1,500 for eating out in kosher restaurants; £3,000 for a Jewish faith schools supplement; £1,100 for Simchahs (such as weddings and barmitzvahs); £700 for synagogue membership; and £500 for kosher meat (which is double the cost of ordinary supermarket meat and which has inflated more than twice as fast as non-kosher meat during the past ten years). A number of other costs were not included in the basic calculation but are likely to be incurred by many Jewish families, such as Age-16 Israel Tours (£2,800 per child), post-university Israel gap years (£10,000 to £15,000), attendance at the Limmud conference (£1,270 per family), and the 400% mark-up on kosher Passover holidays. Several suggestions are made for improving the affordability of Jewish living. The article can be read at:

http://www.thejc.com/node/152005

OFFICIAL STATISTICS

2011 religious census

Since the New Year the Office for National Statistics has published three new ad hoc tables of data from the religious census of England and Wales in 2011. These can be downloaded in Excel format from:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/about-ons/business-transparency/freedom-of-information/what-can-i-request/published-ad-hoc-data/census/ethnicity–identity–language-and-religion–eilr-/index.html

One of the three, Table CT0557 disaggregating religion by proficiency in English by sex by age in England, has acquired political significance in view of Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement on 18 January 2016 of a £20 million initiative to improve the English language skills of Muslim women living in England (the other three home nations being excluded from the funding). In justification, he cited the fact that 190,000 such women, according to the census, speak little or no English. The 2011 census figures for the language proficiency of adult Muslim women have been recalculated by age group and are summarized below:

% down

16-24

25-44 45-64 65+

All

Main language English

63.5

42.3 26.4 14.1

42.5

Main language not English – speak English very well/well

30.3

39.4 34.0 19.2

35.1

Main language not English – cannot speak English well

5.4

16.4 31.4 37.2

17.9

Main language not English – cannot speak English

0.8

1.9 8.1 29.5

4.5

1851 religious census

The 1851 census of religious accommodation and worship, undertaken by the Government as an extension of the decennial census of population, is an undisputed crown jewel of primary sources for the study of British church history. Its utility is being progressively enhanced by the publication of scholarly editions of the original schedules held at The National Archives in Kew. Two new such editions have appeared recently.

The Religious Census of Bristol and Gloucestershire, 1851 is published in the Gloucestershire Record Series, Vol. 29 (Gloucester: Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 2015, xvi + 428pp., ISBN 9780900197888, hardback, £30). It has been edited by Alan Munden (who already has an edition of the 1851 religious census for Northumberland and County Durham under his belt). Included are full transcripts, with annotations, of the returns for 894 places of worship, 422 of them Church of England, 211 Methodist, and 261 of other denominations. Rather confusingly, their arrangement deviates from the convention followed in most other county editions, Munden juxtaposing the original Census Office order with his own numerical hierarchy. It should also be noted that the manuscript schedules for the five registration sub-districts in Bristol city have long since been lost so that Munden has had to ‘recreate’ them from other contemporary or near-contemporary sources, inserting church attendance data from a local census in Bristol in 1881. There is a substantial 38-page introduction to and commentary on the Gloucestershire returns, together with separate bibliography, explanatory notes, guide to editorial practice, list of parishes transferred to or from Gloucestershire, specimen schedules, seven appendices, and indexes of persons and places. A map and some more intensive aggregate quantitative analysis of the results would have been valuable additions.

Religious Life in Mid-19th Century Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire: The Returns for the 1851 Census of Religious Worship has been edited by David Thompson (one of the pioneers in studying the census, especially through his 1969 doctoral thesis on Leicestershire) and is published in Cambridgeshire Records Society, Vol. 21, 2014 (viii + 275pp., ISBN 9780904323238, paperback, £27). With accompanying footnotes, it reproduces transcripts of the returns for 597 places of worship in the two counties (400 in Cambridgeshire, 197 in Huntingdonshire), of which 272 were Church of England, 144 Methodist, and 181 of other denominations. They are arranged in registration district order, with a statistical summary provided for each registration district, including attendance totals for general congregations and Sunday scholars based on the average figures in the schedules (where given) rather than the actuals for 30 March 1851 (the day of the census). There is a very full introduction (pp. 1-62) which is strong on describing the methodological and interpretative challenges of the census and on a topographical analysis of the results in these counties. There is also a bibliography of primary and secondary sources and indexes of persons and places.

ACADEMIC STUDIES

The Changing World Religion Map

Undoubtedly one of the largest-scale religious studies publishing projects of 2015 was Springer’s The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices, and Politics, edited by Stanley Brunn (ISBN 9789401793759, hardback, £809.50, also available as an e-book). This is less of the encylopedia or reference work implied by the title than a collection of 207 thematically-arranged chapters, cumulating to almost 4,000 pages. Some chapters are multinational in scope while the majority are of the case study variety. At a quick glance, only five of the essays major on the United Kingdom, two of them relating to Northern Ireland, and just one has a quantitative bent. This is Lia Dong Shimada and Christopher Stephens, ‘Mapping Methodism: Migration, Diversity, and Participatory Research in the Methodist Church in Britain’ (pp. 2997-3016). It documents the Church’s efforts in recent years to enhance the collection and exploitation of its statistics for mission, on a participatory research basis, including through the use of maps as a reporting tool and a mechanism to promote inclusivity and diversity. The contents page of the work and abstracts can be freely browsed, and copies of individual chapters obtained (mostly via purchase but some on open access), at:

http://www.springer.com/gb/book/9789401793759

Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion

On a somewhat more modest scale was the 2015 edition (Vol. 26) of Brill’s annual Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, containing 18 contributions of which five were of British religious statistical interest. In the general section, Judith Muskett explored social capital among 923 friends of six English cathedrals in 2011 (pp. 57-76), while Tania ap Siôn analysed 958 prayer requests posted to the prayer board in Southwark Cathedral (pp. 99-119). In the thematic section on the psychological health of ministers, guest-edited by Leslie Francis, there are two consecutive chapters exploring the stress and coping strategies of a sample of 613 rural clergy in the Church of England in 2004: by Christine Brewster, Leslie Francis, Mandy Robbins, and Gemma Penny (pp. 198-217) and Leslie Francis, Patrick Laycock, and Christine Brewster (pp. 218-36). Finally, Kelvin Randall reported on the work-related psychological well-being of 156 Anglican clergy in England and Wales based on the year 14 (2008) wave of his longitudinal study of those ordained as deacons in 1994 (pp. 291-301). For the full table of contents, go to:

http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/books/9789004299436

Death in Britain

In Mors Britannica: Lifestyle and Death-Style in Britain Today (Oxford University Press, 2015, viii + 428pp., ISBN 9780199644971, £30 hardback), Douglas Davies offers us a fascinating anthropological-sociological overview of death in contemporary Britain, including its religious aspects. He synthesizes a vast amount of existing published research, much of it his own, and provides extensive contextual material (arguably a bit too much on occasion) and a theoretical perspective. However, he is somewhat sparing in his deployment of statistical evidence, which is largely relegated to chapter 2 and, in respect of cremation (whose growing adoption is viewed as an index of secularization), chapter 3. There is no systematic trend analysis of the various official statistics pertaining to death and coverage is also somewhat selective of available British sample surveys on public attitudes to death and associated beliefs (such as in the afterlife). The book’s webpage is at:

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/mors-britannica-9780199644971?cc=gb&lang=en&

Labour market penalties

Nabil Khattab and Tariq Modood have continued their investigation of employment penalties in the UK, based on an analysis of Labour Force Survey data for 2002-13, research which has been previously reported in the journal Sociology. They argue that these penalties are strongly associated with colour (mainly blackness) and culture (particularly being Muslim), black Muslims facing the highest penalty of all, but that they are not fixed, tending to vary in extent and nature. The article, ‘Both Ethnic and Religious: Explaining Employment Penalties across 14 Ethno-Religious Groups in the United Kingdom’, is published in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 54, No. 3, 2015, pp. 501-22 and can be accessed online (via paywall, if not a subscriber) at:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jssr.12220/abstract

Muslim women

Skaiste Liepyte and Kareena McAloney-Kocaman have explored ‘Discrimination and Religiosity among Muslim Women in the UK before and after the Charlie Hebdo Attacks’ (perpetrated by Islamists in Paris in January 2015), reporting their findings in Mental Health, Religion & Culture, Vol. 18, No. 9, 2015, pp. 789-94. Their sample was a self-selecting one of 240 Muslim women living in the UK, with a mean age of 24 years, recruited via YouTube and other online means, 153 of them before and 87 after the attacks. Greater Islamic religious practice and perceptions of discrimination were reported by the post-attack sub-sample. The article can be freely accessed online at:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13674676.2015.1107890

 

Please note: Counting Religion in Britain is © Clive D. Field, 2016

 

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Religiosity and Secularity in the 1957 Youth Research Council Survey

The Youth Research Council survey, recently published by the UK Data Service, was motivated by the desire of the Young Christian Workers and the Newman Demographic Survey to investigate religiosity and religious practice among young people during their formative years. To reiterate, the sample comprised young people aged 15-24 living in urban England in 1957. Some headline data are given on religious belief and practice in Table 1 below: belief in God was the norm, but there is evidence that strict adherence to the requirement to attend, and more challenging beliefs such as belief in hell, were in retreat.

YRC-headline-rel-belief-data

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1: Percentage of respondents (weighted).

 

The rest of this post provides examples of individual responses which give further qualitative detail. While the rate of belief in God was high, there is also considerable evidence of secularity, with very straightforward individual responses to that effect.

 

YCW-Salford-Rada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No time for all that rot. Never been [to church] of my own free will.

 

The Young Christian Workers members and volunteers fielding the survey were instructed to write down as much as possible of what the respondents said in response to questions. This example shows a response from a believer.

YCW-1957-well-he-must-be

 

 

 

Q: ‘Do you think that Jesus Christ was God?’ A: ‘Well he must be’. 

 

The response ‘it’s my husband that is athiest [sic]. Not me’ suggests a slight issue with the recording of responses, with this woman apparently giving her husband’s views rather than her own.

YCW-respondent-answering-for-husband

 

 

 

In some cases we get a sense that respondents were surprised to be asked questions of this nature. In the example below, to the question ‘do you think a person’s religion should have anything to do with his everyday life?’ the respondent replied ‘[it’s] difficult to answer in [a] few moments’. In the following example, the respondent said ‘you’d better put ‘yes’’ to the question on belief in God, and added ‘[I] didn’t expect these questions’ to that on the divinity of Jesus Christ.

YCW-1957-R-spots-the-problem-with-surveysYCW-1957-didnt-expect

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One respondent clarified that they had no religion but were ‘PROTESTANT – not a Catholic’. Most likely, the respondent was just not religious, but aware that their ethnic or nominal religion was Protestant rather than Catholic, even if they could not be more precise as to whether they were Anglican or nonconformist. Similarly, a second respondent identified themselves as Anglican, and clarified further that they were ‘not Catholic!’ And quite a few seemed not to know what they were in terms of religion.

YCW-1957-Protestant-Not-Catholic

 

 

 

YCW-1957-not-Catholic

 

 

 

YCW-1957-normal-church

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q: ‘What is your Religion?’ A: ‘The normal Church. Don’t know what it’s called’.

The interviewer annotated ‘actually C of E’ below their response.

 

One respondent replied stolidly that their religion was ‘Church’. The coder subsequently identified them as Church of England.

YCW-1957-Church-of-Church

 

 

 

 

Indeed, there is plenty of evidence of what David Voas terms ‘fuzzy fidelity’:

YCW-1957-thinking

 

 

 

 

 

‘Nothing at the moment – I’m thinking’.

 

This respondent saw themselves as the norm: a young female Anglican, she clarified that her religion was ‘just ordinary!’

YCW-1957-just-ordinary

 

 

 

 

 

This respondent was apparently a pantheist, or perhaps simply highly credulous.

YCW-1957-believed-in-all

 

 

 

 

 

Some responses to the question on religious identity will be familiar to sociologists of religion who have discussed Sheilaism. This respondent identified her religion as ‘trying to be a good girl’ about a quarter of a century before Robert Bellah and Richard Madsen described the faith position of young American Sheila Larson in Habits of the Heart.

YCW-1957-good-girl

 

 

 

 

 

This respondent shows some evidence of switching and ‘shopping around’: to the question, ‘what is your religion?’ he replied ‘Christened in Church of England but I prefer Methodist[s]’.

YCW-1957-prefer-Methodist

 

 

 

 

 

These were more communitarian times, however, and ‘shopping around’ was difficult for some, as with the respondent below.

YCW-1957-frightened

 

 

 

 

‘[I am Church of England] but am frightened to go to Church because am stranger in [the] area’.

 

The following respondent held forthright views on the community aspect rather than loss of belief as being the reason for going to church less than when they were younger.

YCW-1957-petty-squabbles

 

 

 

 

‘Petty squabbles among churchgoers’.

 

This respondent replied clearly that they ‘[had] no religious beliefs’.

YCW-1957-no-beliefs

 

 

 

 

There is also the beginning of a sense of authenticity relating to personal religiosity – that participation was not enough.

YCW-1957-making-a-mockery

 

 

 

 

‘[I attended less than now because] I was sceptical. At one time I was an agnostic – I felt it would be making a mockery if I went’.

 

We also see some stirrings of anti-authority feeling and independence of mind:

YCW-1957-attitude

 

 

 

 

‘I did not like the attitude of the Minister’.

 

YCW_1957-drummed-it-into-you

 

 

 

 

 

‘[I] didn’t like the way they were teaching at Sunday School – they drummed it into you’.

 

But then there were other individual, even individualist, answers. On the religious affiliation question, one respondent concluded that he ‘had better say Hedonism’. Another replied ‘Me’.

YCW-1957-hedonism

 

 

 

YCW-1957-me

 

 

 

 

 

YCW-1957-father-religion

 

 

 

Q: ‘What is your father’s religion?’ A: ‘Pessimist’.

 

There was also evidence of reflection, and of highly considered answers. We’ll close with two striking examples.

YCW-1957-fellowship

 

 

‘You must be extraordinary to do without fellowship’.

 

YCW-1957-failed-to-find

 

 

 

‘I believe it is a good thing to have a religion, but so far have failed to find any religion which I consider perfect’.

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Counting Religion in Britain, November 2015

Counting Religion in Britain, No. 2, November 2015 features no fewer than 41 new sources. It can be read in full below. Alternatively, you can download the PDF version: No 2 November 2015

OPINION POLLS – GENERAL

Religious affiliation

ORB International’s latest surveys for The Independent included the pollster’s standard question on membership of religious groups (response options being limited to each of the major world faiths plus categories for other religions and none). Fieldwork was conducted online on 23-25 October and 18-19 November 2015 among samples of, respectively, 2,015 and 2,067 adults aged 18 and over in Britain. The data tables, with breaks by standard demographics, are at:

http://www.opinion.co.uk/perch/resources/october-2015poll.pdf

http://www.opinion.co.uk/perch/resources/omnovemberpoll.pdf

Freedom of speech

The latest release of data from the Spring 2015 wave of the Pew Global Attitudes Project covered the attitudes towards free expression among publics in 40 countries. Fieldwork was co-ordinated by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, with 999 adults aged 18 and over interviewed by telephone in Britain between 8 and 28 April 2015. Respondents were asked about the importance which they attached to being able to practice their religion freely and whether people should be able to make public statements which are offensive to religion or beliefs. They were also invited to assess how important religion was in their own lives, a question asked several times before in Britain by Pew, albeit not since 2011. A majority (54%) replied that it was not too important or not at all important to them, albeit this was lower than the 61% of four years before. The Pew report is available at:

http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2015/11/Pew-Research-Center-Democracy-Report-FINAL-November-18-2015.pdf

Lord’s Prayer and cinemas

News that Digital Cinema Media had refused to run in cinemas a Church of England pre-Christmas advertisement based on the Lord’s Prayer, on the grounds that it might cause offence to people of non-Christian faiths or none, prompted YouGov to mount a snap poll on the subject among its panellists. When the context was explained to them, 55% of respondents thought the advertisement should have been screened, notwithstanding that 67% rarely or never pray themselves (with just 9% claiming to pray every day). Results were reported on 24 November 2015 at:

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/11/24/lords-prayer-and-praying/

Funerals

Funerals remain a relatively under-researched area, notwithstanding that this is the one rite of passage for which faith bodies continue to be majority providers, at least nominally. Although it lacks any specifically religious component, a new online poll from YouGov, undertaken on 9-10 November 2015, gave interesting insights into how far the sample of 1,639 adults had thought about their funeral and the disposal of their body. Data are available via the link in the blog post at:

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/11/12/two-thirds-british-people-have-imagined-their-own-/

Life after death

YouGov has replicated six questions originally posed by the British Institute of Public Opinion (later known as Social Surveys, Gallup Poll) in 1939. YouGov’s fieldwork was conducted among an online panel on 1-2 November 2015, with 1,716 respondents aged 18 and over. Gallup, by contrast, employed face-to-face interviewing with quota samples of Britons aged 21 and over. One of the repeated questions concerned belief in life after death. Whereas in 1939 just under one-half of adults believed and just over one-third disbelieved, in 2015 the proportions were reversed. A link to the 2015 data table can be found in the blog post at:

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/11/03/britain-1939-less-accepting-refugees-less-fond-cit/

Remembrance Day

To coincide with this year’s event, Survation released the results of two polls on attitudes to Remembrance Day which were commissioned by British Future. Online panel fieldwork was conducted as far back as 8-15 May 2015 among samples of 3,977 adults in Great Britain and 1,056 in Scotland. Two questions were asked, one about wearing a poppy, and the other about whether the commemoration caused frictions between people of different faiths and ethnicities. Data, which include breaks by religious affiliation, are available at:

http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/BF-Poppy-Release-GB.pdf

http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/BF-Poppy-Release-Scot.pdf

Religion at Christmas

The importance attached to the religious aspect of Christmas was investigated by ComRes in an online poll for Premier Christian Media on 23-24 September 2015 (but only recently released), for which 2,016 adults aged 18 and over were interviewed. They were asked to signal their agreement/disagreement with six statements regarding the religious meaning of Christmas. Data tables, including breaks by religious affiliation as well as standard demographics, are available at:

http://www.comres.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/PremierChurchads_Christmas-Starts-with-Christ.pdf

Religious texts

Respondents to an online poll from YouGov about the changing status of books were asked which single book they would want to save from being destroyed forever. They were given four options to choose from, one of which was a religious or sacred text, selected by 14% of the sample, well behind a reference work and a novel in first and second places, respectively. The survey was commissioned by Ideate Research for the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and it was completed by 2,186 adults aged 18 and over on 4-6 November 2015. Data tables are at:

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/y2zm3xks3z/Results-for-Ideate-AHRC-Wave2-061115.pdf

Scots and organized religion

Ipsos MORI’s latest Scottish Public Opinion Monitor, which surveyed 1,029 adults aged 16 and over in Scotland by telephone between 9 and 16 November 2015, included a short battery of Likert-style statements about social changes. One was ‘organised religion is not for me’, with which 68% agreed and only 28% disagreed, thus confirming other recent research which suggests that Scotland is rapidly secularizing. The data table is available at:

https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3658/Scots-expect-health-social-care-and-police-services-to-get-worse-in-the-next-ten-years.aspx

British attitudes toward Israel

The attitudes to Israel of 2,007 adults aged 18 and over in Great Britain have been investigated by Populus on behalf of BICOM (Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre). Fieldwork was conducted online on 16-18 October 2015. Questions included public reactions to the existence of a majority Jewish state in Palestine, both today and going back to the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Opinions were also sought regarding other current players in the Middle East, among them Islamic State and the danger which it poses to the UK’s security. Data tables are at:

http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/British-Attitudes-Towards-Israel-October-2015.pdf

World War III

Pope Francis has warned that World War III has begun in a ‘piecemeal’ fashion. On 18 November 2015, after the Islamist attacks in Paris, YouGov gave its online panellists an opportunity to say whether they agreed with the Pontiff that we are now in World War III and also whether, regardless of their agreement/disagreement, they thought he had been right to say what he did. Although 53% of the 4,757 UK adults who replied believed he had been right to voice his opinion, only 38% agreed with him. Results, weighted to be representative of the population as a whole, are available at:

https://yougov.co.uk/opi/surveys/results#/survey/c7983230-8ddc-11e5-adf5-005056900127

Muslim attitudes

In the wake of the Islamist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015, Survation polled 1,003 Muslims aged 18 and over in Britain by telephone on 18-20 November. Questions covered: relative importance of British and Muslim identity; perceived degree of integration of Muslims into British society; responsibility of Muslims and UK Islamic leaders to condemn terrorist acts carried out in the name of Islam; and attitudes to Islamic State (IS) and the bombing of IS in Syria. Results were reported in The Sun, the newspaper which commissioned the survey, on 23 November, while the full data tables are at:

http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Islamic-Identity-Community-Relations-Survey.pdf

The poll proved controversial and triggered an unusually large number of complaints to the. Independent Press Standards Organisation. The concern arose particularly from the presentation and interpretation of the findings by The Sun, not least its front-page headline ‘1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ Sympathy for Jihadis’. Even the pollsters distanced themselves from the newspaper’s reporting. However, some criticism was also directed against Survation’s methodology (which it had used before). In brief, respondents were sampled based on a modelled probability of self-identifying as Muslim and using a range of demographic indicators. Prior to interview they were asked to confirm that they were Muslim, including non-practising. Apparently, YouGov, The Sun’s normal pollster, declined to pitch for the contract. For a flavour of the negative coverage, see:

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/nov/23/sun-poll-respondents-found-using-list-of-muslim-surnames

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/nov/24/sun-poll-british-muslims-jihadi-sympathy-survation

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/the-sun-front-page-on-british-muslims-sympathy-for-jihadis-attracts-record-complaints-a6745756.html

For Survation’s published defence of itself, see:

http://survation.com/statement-on-survations-poll-of-muslims-for-the-sun/

OPINION POLLS – ISLAMIC STATE

There has been a strong polling focus this month on attitudes to, and potential British actions against, Islamic State (IS). This follows the renewal of the political debate about extending British participation in coalition air strikes against IS from Iraq to Syria and also arises from the aftermath of the Islamist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015, which resulted in the death of 130 people. The polls are arranged below in chronological order by date of fieldwork.

BMG Research

On behalf of the Evening Standard, BMG Research surveyed an online sample of 1,528 UK adults on 11-17 November 2015 about their views on extending British air strikes against Islamic State from Iraq to Syria. Interviews were carried out both immediately before and after the Islamist attacks in Paris on 13 November, and the full data tables give the results separately for these two phases. The survey featured in the Evening Standard for 18 November 2015. Data tables are at:

http://www.bmgresearch.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/BMG_Research_Evening_Standard_Opinion_Poll_171115.pdf

Opinium

Opinium Research quizzed an online sample of 2,003 UK adults on 13-17 November 2015 about how cases such as that of Mohammed Emwazi, the British ‘Jihadi John’ who executed Western hostages, and who was recently killed in a British and American drone strike, should be handled. Specifically, they were asked whether an attempt should have been made to capture him and put him on trial or whether, given the difficulty of doing so, killing him by drone was appropriate. Data tables are promised but have yet to materialize online. In the meantime, a blog about the poll is at:

http://ourinsight.opinium.co.uk/survey-results/ideally-trial-if-not-drone-strike

YouGov (1)

On behalf of The Times, YouGov took the pulse of public opinion toward Islamic State (IS) in the wake of the Islamist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015, interviewing a sample of 1,688 adults online on 16-17 November. Respondents were asked whether they approved or disapproved of: RAF participation in air strikes against IS in Syria; Britain and the United States sending ground troops back into Iraq to help fight IS; Britain and the United States sending ground troops into Syria against IS; and the British and American drone strike which killed Mohammed Emwazi, otherwise known as Jihadi John. Views were also sought about the adequacy of the powers of the British authorities to combat the IS threat in Britain, and the level of concern felt about an IS attack in Britain. The poll results were covered in The Times on 18 November and in a blog post on YouGov’s website the same day, the latter also including a link to full data tables – see:

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/11/18/brits-less-accepting-syrian-refugees-wake-paris-at/

Much the same suite of questions was also asked by YouGov, on behalf of The Times, of 1,443 members of the Labour Party on 19-23 November 2015, with a view to seeing whether they agreed with the seemingly less hawkish position taken against IS by their leader (Jeremy Corbyn) than adopted by Prime Minister David Cameron. Data tables can be accessed via the link in the blog post at:

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/11/24/analysis-corbynistas-stay-loyal-few-others-share-h/

Survation (1)

As part of a broader survey commissioned by Leave.EU, Survation polled an online sample of 1,546 UK adults aged 18 and over on 16-17 November 2015 about their attitudes toward military action (including air strikes in Syria) against Islamic State in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris. Data tables are at:

http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Final-Leave.EU-Tables-161115CBLCH-1c5d4h6.pdf

ComRes (1)

Also in the immediate aftermath of the Islamist attacks in Paris, ComRes conducted a poll for the Daily Mail among an online sample of 1,061 adults aged 18 and over on 17 November 2015. The subject matter was attitudes to terrorism, including toward Islamic State (IS). The IS-related questions concerned: support for air strikes, and the commitment of ground troops, against IS; the likelihood of such military action increasing the risk of a terrorist attack in Britain; the prospects for defeating IS with or without military action; and approval/disapproval of the killing of Mohammed Emwazi (Jihadi John). Findings were published in the Daily Mail for 19 November 2015, with full data tables at:

http://www.comres.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Daily-Mail_Terrorism-Survey_November-2015.pdf

ORB International

ORB International undertook a survey among an online sample of 2,067 adult Britons on 18-19 November 2015 on their attitudes to the extension of British air strikes, and the commitment of British ground troops, against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Data tables are at:

http://www.opinion.co.uk/perch/resources/omnovemberpoll.pdf

ICM Unlimited

In an online survey by ICM Unlimited among 2,013 adult Britons on 18-20 November 2015, views were sought about: (1) British involvement in air strikes against Islamic State (IS) in Syria, with or without the consent of Parliament; and (2) whether British military intervention against IS would make the Middle East safer or more dangerous. Data tables are at:

http://www.icmunlimited.com/data/media/pdf/OlOm-ISIS-Survey.pdf

ComRes (2)

On behalf of The Independent and Sunday Mirror, ComRes polled an online sample of 2,067 adults aged 18 and over on 18-20 November 2015 about: (1) British involvement in air strikes and a ground war against Islamic State (IS); and (2) the killing of British citizens in Syria who had joined IS. Findings were reported in the Independent on Sunday for 22 November 2015, and data tables are at:

http://www.comres.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/SM-IoS_Political-Poll_November-2015-4123.pdf

YouGov (2)

Almost four-fifths of Londoners are very or fairly worried about an Islamic State terrorist attack on the capital, according to a YouGov poll for the Evening Standard among an online sample of 1,008 London adults on 18-21 November 2015. Results were published in the Evening Standard for 27 November, with the data table available at:

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/m64386ibnw/Internal_Results_151123_ISIS_and_Refugees_Website.pdf

YouGov (3)

The November 2015 wave of Eurotrack, undertaken online by YouGov in seven Western European nations (Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, and Sweden) on 19-24 November, included several questions about terrorism and Islamic State (IS). Respondents, including the 1,699 in Britain, were asked whether Western countries were doing enough to combat IS in Iraq and Syria; whether their national police and security services had sufficient powers to combat any IS threat at home; and about their fears of an IS terrorist attack in their own country. Topline results only are available at:

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/hdfr2e6nua/Copy%20of%20November_Eurotrack.pdf

YouGov (4)

YouGov conducted an online poll of 1,659 Britons on 23-24 November 2015 in connection with a YouGov@Cambridge symposium on Syria and the European Union. Questions covered three broad areas: attitudes toward British military action (in the air and on the ground) against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria; the handling of Syria and IS issues by British and world political leaders, including David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn; and possible resolutions of those issues, among them co-operation with the government of President Bashar al-Assad and negotiation with IS. Data tables are available via the link at:

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/11/27/regret-over-opposition-2013-syria-vote-beginning-s/

YouGov (5)

An online poll by YouGov on 25-26 November 2015 asked 1,623 Britons whether they thought a decision on military intervention against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria should be taken collectively by the European Union or be a matter for individual member states. Only one-third favoured a decision being made at the European level. The data table is at:

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/11/27/eu-standing-army/

Survation (2)

On behalf of the Daily Mirror, Survation polled an online sample of 1,026 UK adults on 26-27 November 2015 about their attitudes to British involvement in air strikes, and to the commitment of British ground troops (now or in the future), against Islamic State in Syria, including about the potential for air strikes to heighten the risk of a terror attack in the UK. Results featured in the Daily Mirror on 28 November 2015, while data tables are at:

http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Syrian-Intervention-Poll.pdf

FAITH ORGANIZATION STUDIES

Christians and the refugee crisis

The attitudes of UK practising Christians to the international refugee crisis were explored in an online poll conducted by Christian Research in November 2015 and commissioned by Embrace the Middle East, a Christian charity originating in 1854. Respondents comprised 1,055 members of Christian Research’s Resonate panel. Full results have not been released, but there is a brief press release at:

http://www.embraceme.org/news/embrace-survey-finds-vast-majority-uk-christians-ready-and-willing-help-refugees

Church of England finances

The Church of England has published a financial overview for 2004-13, conveniently bringing together information on income and expenditure from over 12,000 parishes, 44 dioceses, 41 cathedrals, and three National Church Institutions (Church Commissioners, Archbishops’ Council, and Church of England Pensions Board). The report is available at:

https://churchofengland.org/media/2401072/financial_overview_1__copy.pdf

Catholic schools

The Catholic Education Service for England and Wales has published the digest of its 2015 census of Catholic schools and colleges, which, for the second year running, achieved a return of 100%. In separate reports for England and Wales, there are details of: the number, type, and size distribution of schools and colleges; the number of pupils disaggregated by school type, Catholicity, ethnicity, and deprivation; and the number, qualifications, Catholicity, and ethnicity of teaching and support staff. Appendices provide additional breaks by diocese. The reports can be accessed via the links at:

http://www.catholiceducation.org.uk/ces-census

Israelis in Britain

The latest report from the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) is David Graham’s Britain’s Israeli Diaspora: A Demographic Portrait. It is largely based upon the results of the 2011 UK census, including many tables specially commissioned by JPR from the Office for National Statistics. These revealed 23,221 Israelis (defined by birth or citizenship) living in the UK in 2011, the highest ever recorded number, 73% of whom were Jewish either by religion or ethnicity, equivalent to 6% of the Jewish population of the UK. In fact, during the first decade of this Millennium there were more Israeli migrants to Britain than British emigrants to Israel. The 20-page report is available at:

http://www.jpr.org.uk/documents/JPR.2015.Britains_Israeli_diaspora.pdf

Islamophobia

The Islamic Human Rights Commission has published a substantial (272-page) report by Saied Reza Ameli and Arzu Merali entitled Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK. In chapter 5 (pp. 123-84) it seeks to document Muslim experiences of Islamophobia based upon a sample (implicitly self-selecting) of 1,782 Muslims in 2014, 1,148 of whom completed a hard-copy questionnaire and 634 an online survey. To judge from the demographics which are quoted, respondents were disproportionately young, of Pakistani heritage, educated to degree level, from middle income groups, and practising Muslims. One in eight informants were not actually resident in the UK, and 1% were not even Muslim. Comparisons are drawn with a similar survey in 2009-10, to which there were only 336 respondents, with many indicators apparently revealing perceived worsening Islamophobia over the period. The tone of much of the text gives it the air of a political tract and, combined with a doubtful survey methodology, weakens the case for considering the work as an objective and balanced piece of empirical research (notwithstanding several academic endorsements quoted on the back cover). The report costs £5 to download in PDF format and £10 in paperback, but an eight-page executive summary is freely available at

http://www.ihrc.org.uk/attachments/article/11559/Executive%20Summary-UK-ll-02.pdf

OFFICIAL STATISTICS

Religion of prisoners

The Ministry of Justice’s National Offender Management Service has published its Offender Equalities Annual Report, 2014/15, with associated data tables. This includes details of the religious affiliation of the prison population of England and Wales as at 31 March 2015. Of 85,664 prisoners, 49% professed to be Christian, 31% to have no religion, and 14% to be Muslim. The proportion of Christians was actually 0.5% higher than in 2009 and of religious nones four points fewer; this somewhat counterintuitive trend may reflect a shift in the age profile of the prison population, away from the under-25 cohort. The report is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/noms-annual-offender-equalities-report-2014-to-2015

Religion of armed forces

The Ministry of Defence’s biannual diversity statistics for UK armed forces personnel as at 1 October 2015 presented a rather different religious profile to that of prisoners: 77% of the 152,150 regular forces were Christian, 21% of no religion, and a mere 0.3% Muslim. The distribution was very similar among the volunteer reserve. The report and data tables are at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-armed-forces-biannual-diversity-statistics-2015

Youth social action

Meaningful social action by young people in the UK is rather more prevalent among those professing some religion (45%) than those without (39%). Among those classified as committed to social action, the proportion with some faith is 52%. Overall, 49% of young people expressed a religious affiliation and 46% did not. The findings emerged from face-to-face interviews conducted, by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Cabinet Office, with 2,021 10- to 20-year-olds between 2 and 19 September 2015. The definition of social action used in the survey was ‘practical action in the service of others to create positive change’. A presentation about the study, which is designed to support a Government campaign to advance youth social action, is at:

https://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Publications/sri-youth-social-action-in-uk-2015.pdf

ACADEMIC STUDIES

Personal saliency of religion

Clive Field provides an additional lens on the scale and chronology of secularization in modern Britain by reviewing opinion polls on the personal saliency of religion conducted between the 1960s and the present day. Six self-rating measures were derived from both non-recurrent and serial surveys: religiosity (binary questions), religiosity (non-binary questions), spirituality versus religiosity, importance of religion, importance of God, and difference made by religion. The conclusion is that saliency of religion indicators present one of the bleaker pictures of the extent of secularization, worse than affiliation or belief in God data, with self-assessed non-religiosity in Britain higher than in most other Western European countries. The article, ‘Secularising Selfhood: What Can Polling Data on the Personal Saliency of Religion Tell Us about the Scale and Chronology of Secularisation in Modern Britain?’, is published in Journal of Beliefs & Values, Vol. 36, No. 3, 2015, pp. 308-30. Access options are outlined at:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13617672.2015.1095520

Clergy well-being

Revisiting an 11-year-old dataset of 722 rural clergy, Christine Brewster found only partial linkages between churchmanship and psychological well-being (as measured via the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire). Although theological liberals did experience higher well-being than theological conservatives, controlling for sex, age, and personality, there was no significant difference between evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics nor between charismatics and non-charismatics. Possible explanations for these results are briefly offered. Her article, ‘Churchmanship and Personal Happiness: A Study among Rural Anglican Clergy’, is published in Rural Theology, Vol. 13, No. 2, November 2015, pp. 124-34, and access options are outlined at:

http://www.maneyonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/1470499415Z.00000000050

Clergy theological constructs

In ‘Go and Observe the Sower: Seeing Empirical Theology at Work’, Journal of Empirical Theology, Vol. 28, No. 2, 2015, pp. 155-83, Leslie Francis and Andrew Village sought to operationalize two theological constructs, one concerning the nature of being human (rooted in a theology of individual differences) and the other concerning the nature of the Church (rooted in ecclesiology). These constructs were tested among a sample of 1,418 clergy living in England who self-selected to reply (online or by post) to a questionnaire included in the Church Times in 2013. The data revealed that, after controlling for sex and age, both constructs explained significant variance in three measures dividing clerical opinion: traditional moral belief, traditional religious belief, and traditional worship. Access options to the article are outlined at:

http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.1163/15709256-12341325

Clergy leadership skills

Personality has substantial effects on the self-rated leadership strengths of Anglican clergy, although the psychological types which have positive associations are often not those most commonly found among these clergy. In particular, there is arguably a shortage of ordained ministers characterized by extraversion and thinking (rather than introversion and feeling). So conclude Laura Watt and David Voas on the basis of an online survey of 1,480 clergy, 95% in stipendiary ministry, in April-July 2013 in connection with the Church of England’s church growth research programme. ‘Psychological Types and Self-Assessed Leadership Skills of Clergy in the Church of England’ is published in Mental Health, Religion & Culture, Vol. 18, No. 7, 2015, pp. 544-55. Access options are outlined at:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13674676.2014.961250

Attitudes of British Jews toward Israel

The Attitudes of British Jews towards Israel, and to that country’s current policies and conduct in the Middle East, are considered in a new research report published by City University and written by Stephen Miller, Margaret Harris, and Colin Shindler. The study was funded by Yachad, a British, pro-Israel, pro-peace campaigning group, although the authors are at pains to stress their independence of the funding body. Fieldwork was undertaken by Ipsos MORI between March and July 2015 among 1,131 adult British Jews aged 18 and over. The sample was recruited using a combination of: random sampling of individuals on the electoral register with distinctive Jewish surnames; exhaustive sampling of Jewish members of an online panel maintained by Ipsos MORI; and a structured (discriminative) approach to online snowball sampling. An interesting feature of the research is a scale of hawkishness-dovishness in opinions of Israel, based on responses to 41 attitude statements. The report is available at:

http://yachad.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/British-Jewish-Attitudes-Towards-Israel-Yachad-Ipsos-Mori-Nov-2015.pdf

NEW DATASETS AT UK DATA SERVICE

SN 6614: Understanding Society, wave 5

The dataset for wave 5 of Understanding Society (United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study) has been released. Face-to-face interviews were completed by NatCen Social Research with 41,041 adults aged 16 and over in the UK between 8 January 2013 and 5 June 2015. Topics covered included the importance of religion to a sense of personal identity; pride in religion; religious affiliation (by upbringing and current); and religion as a source of harassment and discrimination. The dataset description is available at:

https://discover.ukdataservice.ac.uk/catalogue/?sn=6614&type=Data%20catalogue

SN 7836: Community Life Survey, 2014-15

The Cabinet Office’s Community Life Survey touches on the role of religion in relation to community life, including volunteering and charitable giving. Background questions are also asked about religious affiliation and self-assigned practice of religion. The 2014-15 survey was conducted by TNS BMRB between 1 July 2014 and 30 April 2015, among a face-to-face sample of 2,022 adults aged 16 and over in England, with 2,323 respondents completing an online or postal questionnaire. The dataset description is available at:

https://discover.ukdataservice.ac.uk/catalogue/?sn=7836&type=Data%20catalogue

SN 7839: Integrated Household Survey, January-December 2014

The Integrated Household Survey is the largest pool of UK social data after the decennial census of population. In 2014 323,935 individuals aged 16 and over were interviewed, face-to-face or by telephone. A question on religious affiliation is included, using the census categories. The dataset description is available at:

https://discover.ukdataservice.ac.uk/catalogue/?sn=7839&type=Data%20catalogue

 

Please note that the content of Counting Religion in Britain is © Clive D. Field, 2015

 

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The 1957 Youth Research Council Survey of Young People’s Religion and Lifestyles

It’s my pleasure to announce the publication online of a survey dataset, the 1957 Youth Research Council Survey of Young People’s Religion and Lifestyles (SN 7933). This is a project on which I’ve worked for some time, to digitise and make more widely available a large-scale survey of English youth fielded almost 60 years ago.

This project was originally of BRIN inspiration: Clive Field serves as a trustee on the Pastoral Research Centre Trust, a social research institute established and directed by the demographer and religious sociologist Tony Spencer. Clive suggested this project as one where digitisation would help preserve a valuable and high-quality data source both for wider use by sociologists of religion, and for the longer term. He summarised the data source as follows in his 1987 work on religious data sources:

‘[A] major study… conducted in January and February 1957 by the Roman Catholic Young Christian Worker movement with technical assistance from the [Newman Demographic Survey]. Interviews were held with 8,196 persons aged fifteen to twenty-four living in randomly selected streets of twenty-eight London boroughs and thirty English provincial towns and cities with a population in excess of forty thousand. The full questionnaire, which was given to all non-Anglican respondents and to thirty per cent of the five thousand Church of England adherents, covered socio-demographic characteristics, belief in god, Christ heaven and hell, attendance at Sunday school or catechism, public worship and Holy Communion, and confirmation. Proper weighting (to correct for the over-representation of Catholics and fifteen to nineteen year olds) and analysis of the data was never completed on account of shortages both of time and money, and the only significant publication to have arisen from the project was a special double issue of New Life’ (Field 1987: 263).

The survey was conducted jointly by the Young Christian Workers (YCW) and the Newman Demographic Survey (NDS) under a joint committee, namely the Youth Research Council. The YCW interest lay in gathering data for the YCW’s international congress in Rome. It had an activist mission: its motto then and now was ‘See, Judge, Act’. National associations were asked by the YCW headquarters in Brussels to report on young workers in their countries. Frank Lane (1926-1993), then a full-time organiser for the YCW and later to become its chief administrator in England, contacted the Newman Demographic Survey for advice.

Tony Spencer established both the Newman Demographic Survey, in 1953, and the PRC as a legacy organisation in 1964. Inconsistency of funding and programmatic independence caused difficulties for the NDS, as detailed on the PRC website. Spencer managed much of the work of the NDS and PRC alongside a civil service career, military service, and then an academic career at Queen’s University Belfast. He also gave service to the wider community as founder of Lagan College, the first integrated school in Belfast, established in 1981. More on the founding of Lagan College can be learned here.

The YRC 1957 study was a particularly attractive project for many reasons. Commercial polling had come to Britain in the 1930s via Gallup, and government surveys were in their early stages in the 1950s. Among academic studies, the Glass mobility study of 1949, the Family Expenditure Survey of 1961, and British Election Study from 1963 were the first major examples. So it hails from the earlier years of survey research in Britain, and having this dataset available to the scholarly community helps turn this period from one of historical interest to one of social scientific interest. What are apparently the ‘relics of history’ are amenable to standard analytic tools and arguably of contemporary interest.

Even in the US, where the quantitative study of religion is firmly established, the earliest survey data available on religion are Gallup polling data from 1939. Notable early US studies include Gerhard Lenski’s sample of 656 Detroit residents in 1958, reported in his 1961 classic, The Religious Factor, and the first large-scale surveys of American religiosity launched in 1963 by Charles Glock and Rodney Stark.

The detail it provides on young English Catholics is also important. It is now largely forgotten that Irish immigrants were once seen as a social and cultural threat, and it may be that analysis of these data will help shed light on the successful integration of a distinct religious minority.

Further, it is of good quality for a study of its time and comparable quality would be very expensive nowadays when young people are hard-to-reach by survey researchers. There is lots of evidence in the archives of care and thought given to sampling and questionnaire design, with further details in the survey’s Technical Report. Expert advice was sought from survey researchers in government and at Gallup, and also from the Director of Mass Observation. Of the towns and boroughs which were selected for the stratified sample, a 2 per cent sample was taken of those aged 15-24.

The survey was also fascinating in terms of how it was produced. There was almost no funding available – £200 provided by the YCW in 1956, worth about £4500 now. That had to cover the printing of questionnaires and tabulation of the responses for computer analysis as well as the analysis itself. The survey was fielded by volunteers from the Young Christian Workers, mostly young people in their teens and early 20s, with little free time outside work. The survey design, coding up of responses and analysis of the headline results depended very much on the NDS and its advisers working in an entirely voluntary capacity, in the interests of gathering data on youth religiosity and particularly Catholic religiosity at a time of high immigration from Ireland in particular. A similar study nowadays – face-to-face, aiming for good coverage of minority communities – would require funding of several hundreds of thousands of pounds, according to one reviewer of the project.

More importantly, the dataset provides an important insight into youth lifestyle and attitudes to religion in late industrial society. This period is now slipping farther back in British memory, and yet is still part of our present: the majority of that cohort is still alive. Accordingly, the survey is both history and social science, informing us of the youth of the Silent Generation, which is now enjoying retirement or still working, still volunteering and politically-active, and caring for dependents. The target population is now aged 74 to 83. Their social attitudes are borne of memories of wartime and post-war austerity, strong trade unions and a large manufacturing sector, almost full employment in their formative years, and for a lucky few, the provision of free university education. While the late 1950s are commonly thought of as the age of beatniks and rock’n’roll, there is actually little evidence of widespread cultural change – that apparently awaited the 1960s – although 1957 was arguably the first year when television dominated the radio. In providing additional data on what young people were doing on Sundays, and the societies and clubs they belonged to, the survey also tells us of youth leisure and civic life at the time.

For completion of the digitisation project, I was very lucky to be awarded what was, coincidentally, a similar amount of funding by the Nuffield Foundation to that originally provided by the YCW. The practical side was interesting in that there were not many exemplars; very helpful advice on data capture was provided by economists Andrew Newell and Tim Leunig.

On beginning the project, it also seemed that there was a certain amount of data loss – to damp and some boxes of forms were lost so that about half the London boroughs are not represented. The IBM punchcards were also lost over the years. 5832 responses survive.

An example of an original form is given below (click on the images for enlarged versions). Many written-in answers had been coded by the original coding team, notably one Mrs Jane Platts, whose work in coding occupations was stellar. The closed responses had also been ringed by the interviewer, and again back at the NDS offices where checks were made for consistency. The excellent Digital Divide Data took receipt of the set of scanned images and recorded responses in an Excel spreadsheet for further processing.

YCW-example-1 YCW-example-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This spreadsheet then required further cleaning and checking (and the written-in responses to religious questions remains to be done). The published dataset, available in both SPSS and Stata formats, includes the close-form variables; written-in responses to questions on how time was spent last Sunday, associational memberships and occupation; a number of derived variables; full variable labelling; and has the different types of missingness identified. The Technical Report explains further.

Finally, I created poststratification weights using 1951 Census data together with Spencer’s own estimates of the 15-24 Catholic population of England.

In further posts I will give some examples of individual responses to particular questions to help give a flavour of religious attitudes at the time. There is also the potential for interesting qualitative work drawing on the written-in responses, marginalia and survey paradata.

For now, thanks are due the Nuffield Foundation for funding digitisation costs (SGS/37651). Some of this work was also completed while I was Marston Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, supported by the Marston Family Trust, for which I am extremely grateful; this dataset will inform further work on youth socialisation. The UK Data Service, particularly Louise Bolger and Karen Dennison, were very helpful in advising on preparing the dataset for publication.

For their technical and practical help in digitising the survey, and agreement for granting of copyright clearance for publication online, thanks are also due to:

Phil Callaghan, National President, Young Christian Workers England and Wales

Chhuon Chipon, Digital Divide Data, Cambodia

Martin Cooney, Servicepoint UK, Manchester

James Duff, Conservation Team Leader, John Rylands University Library

Kate Duncan, Digital Divide Data, New York

Clive Field OBE, Director of British Religion in Numbers and Honorary Research Fellow of the Universities of Birmingham and Manchester

Anthony Heath, Professor of Sociology, University of Oxford

Michael Hornsby-Smith, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Surrey

Johanna Juselius, former graduate student in Social Change, University of Manchester

Tim Leunig, then Associate Professor in Economic History, London School of Economics

Tessa Liburd, graduate student in Sociology, University of Manchester

Andrew Newell, Lecturer in Economics, University of Sussex

Paul Norman, Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Leeds

David Voas, Director of British Religion in Numbers and Head of Department of Social Science at UCL Institute of Education

Particular thanks are due to Tony Spencer, whose extraordinary efforts led to the fielding and then preservation of the survey. In turn, in the report of the survey’s headline results made in 1958, he paid tribute to the numerous volunteers who knocked on doors interviewing respondents:

‘to the National Organisers and Regional Leaders who spent weeks travelling the country, preparing street lists by day and briefing interviewers in the evenings: to the Y.C.W. Headquarters Staff who administered and maintained the momentum of the work: and above all to the many hundreds of members of the Y.C.W. and of the Legion of Mary, Knights of St. Columba, the Cell, the Children of Mary, youth clubs, teachers and training colleges and University students, who spent night after night and several week-ends, in wet or cold weather, calling at every house in a particular street, doing one or two interviews and then going on to the next listed street, perhaps some way away, and returning another day to call again at houses where everyone, or all of the young people of the household were found to be out’ (Spencer 1958: 8-9).

References

Barley, Lynda, Field, Clive D., Kosmin, Barry A., and Nielsen, Jorgen S (1987), Reviews of United Kingdom Statistical Sources XX: Religion (Pergamon Press, Oxford).

Spencer, A.E.C.W. (1958), ‘Youth and Religion’, New Life, Vol. 14, pp. 1-59.

The full technical report is available here:  http://doc.ukdataservice.ac.uk/doc/7933/mrdoc/pdf/7933uguide.pdf

In terms of papers analysing data from the survey:

Siobhan McAndrew and Lindsay Richards, ‘Nothing to Do in the Affluent Society’ (Working Paper) examines youth leisure and associational memberships in terms of religious affiliation. Further work is underway with Stephen Bullivant looking specifically at religious practice and belief.

Posted in Attitudes towards Religion, church attendance, Historical studies, Measuring religion, Religion and Social Capital | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Counting Religion in Britain, October 2015

We are pleased to announce that the migration of the British Religion in Numbers (BRIN) website to its new platform has now taken place, and we are in a position to recommence posting of content to the site. We wish to thank our users for their patience.

The news pages of the site will continue to feature extended research notes on particular resources of topical or historical interest. The most recent of these, which has literally just been published, is by Ben Clements, offering further analysis of the British Election Study 2015 data. This post can be found at:

http://www.brin.ac.uk/2016/religion-and-party-choice-evidence-from-the-bes-2015-face-to-face-post-election-survey/

Our regular round-ups of new statistical sources are now being consolidated into a monthly bulletin, Counting Religion in Britain. The present post provides an overview of sources which came to BRIN’s notice during October 2015. Posts for subsequent months will follow in relatively quick succession.

The content of Counting Religion in Britain, No. 1, October 2015, can be read in full below. Alternatively, you can download the PDF version: No 1 October 2015

 

Counting Religion in Britain

A Monthly Round-Up of New Statistical Sources

Number 1 – October 2015

OPINION POLLS

Human rights

An online poll by ComRes for Amnesty International, undertaken among 2,051 adults in Britain on 2-4 October 2015, probed attitudes to the proposed British Bill of Rights, which the Government intends as a replacement for the current Human Rights Act. Specifically, respondents were asked whether they considered that rights which are presently protected by the Act, among them the right to freedom of religion and thought, should not be included in the Bill. Data tables are available at:

http://www.comres.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Amnesty-International_Data-Tables-Human-Rights-Act_October-2015.pdf

Religious pluralism

A ComRes poll for the BBC explored perceptions of: (1) contemporary children’s understanding of religion and faith, and different faith communities; and (2) the effects of the changing religious make-up of Britain on moral standards, shared values, acceptance of people from different backgrounds, and understanding of different cultures. Fieldwork was conducted by telephone on 18-28 September 2015 among a sample of 2,016 adults aged 18 and over. Data tables are at:

http://www.comres.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/BBC_Public-Opinion-Poll_Sept-15_TABLES.pdf

Religious discrimination

In 2006, 2009, and 2012 the European Commission included a module on discrimination in its regular series of Eurobarometers of public opinion in all member states of the European Union. It has now published a report on a fourth and extended study of the same subject: Special Eurobarometer 437: Discrimination in the EU in 2015. United Kingdom fieldwork was conducted by TNS UK by means of face-to-face interviews with 1,306 adults aged 15 and over. Questions covered attitudes to and experience of discrimination on several grounds, including on the basis of religion or beliefs; and reactions to efforts to promote diversity on the same grounds in the workplace, schools, and media. Respondents were also asked about their attitudes to a range of people (among them atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, and Muslims) as prospective work colleagues or as partners in a love relationship with their children. The report is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/COMMFrontOffice/PublicOpinion/index.cfm/Survey/index#p=1&instruments=SPECIAL

Data are available at:

http://open-data.europa.eu/en/data/dataset/S2077_83_4_437_ENG

Regulating supplementary religious schools

Prime Minister David Cameron’s commitment, made in his speech to the Conservative Party’s autumn conference, to regulate supplementary religious schools (such as Islamic madrassas) in England was well received by the electorate, securing 62% endorsement. This was according to a Survation poll for the Huffington Post UK, for which 1,031 adult Britons were interviewed online on 7 October 2015. Data tables are at:

http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Cameron-Speech-Poll-Tables.pdf

Islamic State (1)

A trio of online polls of adult Britons by YouGov on behalf of YouGov@Cambridge, and published on 2 October 2015, explored public attitudes to British involvement in military action (by air, sea, and ground) against Islamic State (IS) in three Middle Eastern countries. Fieldwork was conducted on 4-5 August in the case of intervention in Iraq (n = 1,707), 5-6 August about Libya (n = 1,972), and 24-25 September about Syria (n = 1,646). The full data tables are available under ‘Latest Documents’ on the YouGov@Cambridge website at:

https://yougov.co.uk/cambridge/

Islamic State (2)

Notwithstanding serious tensions between Russia and the West elsewhere in the world, the majority of Britons approved of Anglo-American co-operation with Russian military forces in the fight against Islamic State (IS). This was according to a YouGov poll published on 1 October 2015, for which 2,064 adults were interviewed online on 29-30 September, presumably mostly before news broke of the start of Russian air strikes against IS in Syria. Other questions covered attitudes to British military involvement against IS in Iraq and Syria. YouGov’s analysis of the survey, with a link to the data tables, is at:

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/10/01/cooperation-russia-syria/

FAITH ORGANIZATION STUDIES

Millennial Christians

The Evangelical Alliance has reported on the religious beliefs, practices, opinions, and experiencers of millennial Christians: Lucy Olofinjana, Building Tomorrow’s Church Today: The Views and Experiences of Young Adults in the UK Church. It is based upon an online survey completed by a self-selecting (and thus potentially unrepresentative) sample of 1,703 churchgoing, evangelical Christians aged 18-37 in the UK in October-November 2014 and March 2015. The report, which especially highlighted gender and ethnic differences, is available at:

https://www.eauk.org/church/one-people-commission/upload/Building-tomorrow-s-Church-today-PDF.pdf

Church of England buildings

The first attempt in many years to audit the Church of England’s stewardship of its 15,700 church buildings was published on 12 October 2015: Report of the Church Buildings Review Group, chaired by the Bishop of Worcester and established by the Archbishops’ Council and Church Commissioners. It surveyed the statistical and theological context before setting out general principles and specific recommendations for the management of the Church’s places of worship. Future closure of some churches is envisaged and the downgrading of others to ‘festival church’ status, involving the cessation of regular worship in favour of occasional offices and major seasonal services only. The report, which includes data disaggregated to diocesan level, is available at:

https://www.churchofengland.org/media/2383717/church_buildings_review_report_2015.pdf

Cumbrian churches

One day after the Church of England national buildings report was published, the Churches Trust for Cumbria, an independent charity established in 2008, very belatedly released the results of its own interdenominational church buildings survey, the fieldwork for which was conducted as far back as 2012-13. The research covered two-thirds of the 600 Anglican, Methodist, and United Reformed churches in the county, highlighting the immense challenges which they face in terms of financial viability and ageing congregations. The report, which is somewhat lacking in terms of data and confusing in its presentation, can be viewed at:

http://www.carlislediocese.org.uk/uploads/1356/Churches_Trust_for_Cumbria_Report_2015-pdf.html

Pastoral Research Centre publications

The Pastoral Research Centre Trust, which undertakes socio-religious research into Roman Catholicism in England and Wales with particular reference to statistical sources, has posted on its website an up-to-date list of its own reports and those of its predecessor, the Newman Demographic Survey (1953-64), the latter documents only declassified by the Catholic Church in recent years. These publications provide a much sounder basis for the quantification of the Catholic community during the past half-century than the data to be found in successive editions of the Catholic Directory. The list can be found on the Trust’s homepage at:

http://www.prct.org.uk/

Strictly Orthodox Jewry

The Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) has published a major report on Orthodox Jewry: Daniel Staetsky and Jonathan Boyd, Strictly Orthodox Rising: What the Demography of British Jews Tells us about the Future of the Community. It explores the implications of the ‘extraordinary demographic growth of the strictly Orthodox sub-population’ in British Jewry, which is attributed to its high birth rate and low mortality. Making particular use of population pyramids, the authors assess the current and possible future numerical relationships between, and respective characteristics of, the strictly Orthodox and non-strictly Orthodox Jewish communities.

The evidence base mostly comprises estimates derived from the 2011 census of England and Wales, including what is claimed to be the first presentation in the public domain of estimates of British Jewish fertility. The latter show that the strictly Orthodox possess the highest fertility of any religious group in the country and, all other things remaining unchanged, it is set to become the majority of British Jews during the second half of this century. The picture which emerges, through the growth of the strictly Orthodox, is thus one of reversal of the long-standing contraction of British Jewry and of its increasing religiosity.

According to the Jewish Chronicle (16 October 2015, p. 14), aspects of the tone and content of the research have come under fire from the Interlink Foundation (an Orthodox charity). This is especially true of JPR’s estimate of the current maximum size of the Orthodox sub-population (43,500) and of the point at which it will account for half of Jewish births (2031). Interlink calculates that there are actually 58,500 Orthodox Jews and that they will provide the majority of births much sooner than 2031. JPR’s report can be downloaded from:

http://www.jpr.org.uk/publication?id=4222#.Vh_ayMtdHX6

OFFICIAL STATISTICS

Religious hate crimes

Home Office Statistical Bulletin 05/15 is on Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2014/15 by Hannah Corcoran, Deborah Lader, and Kevin Smith. Of the 52,528 hate crimes recorded by the police in that year, 3,254 (6%) were religion- or belief-related, a rise of 43% on 2013/14. The increase is mainly thought to reflect improved police recording but there was almost certainly some genuine growth in religion hate crimes, linked to trigger events leading to Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. However, even these figures still represent a significant under-count, due to under-reporting, the Crime Survey for England and Wales suggesting that the true number of incidents of religiously-motivated hate crime each year may be as high as 38,000, fairly evenly split between household and personal crimes. The Statistical Bulletin and associated tables can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2014-to-2015

Scottish Gaelic and religion

The Scottish Government has published a report and data tables relating to the results of the Scottish Gaelic questions in the 2011 Scottish census. Five data tables give breaks by religion for Scottish Gaelic for the population aged 3 and over. They are:

  • AT 250 2011 – Gaelic language skills by religion (council areas)
  • AT 251 2011 – Gaelic language skills by religion (civil parish bands)
  • AT 275 2011 – Use of Gaelic language at home by religion (council areas)
  • AT 276 2011 – Use of Gaelic language at home by religion (civil parish bands)
  • AT 277 2011 – Gaelic language skills by religion by age (Scotland)

These tables can be accessed, in Excel format, under the ‘language’ heading of the 2011 Scottish Census Data Warehouse at:

http://www.scotlandscensus.gov.uk/ods-web/data-warehouse.html#additionaltab

ACADEMIC STUDIES

Christian beliefs and religious debates

In his second book, Ben Clements quantitatively illuminates several key aspects of religion in post-war Britain, especially since the 1980s, on the basis of four recurrent historical sample survey sources (Gallup Polls, British Social Attitudes Surveys, European Values Studies, and Eurobarometers) and multivariate analysis of several contemporary non-recurrent polls. Chapters 2 and 3 examine the correlates of theistic and other traditional beliefs (God, atheism, life after death, hell, heaven, sin, the Devil, and the Bible), while chapter 4 reviews the attitudinal evidence for three areas of religious-secular debate (religion and science, faith schools, and disestablishment). There are 38 tables in all. Surveying Christian Beliefs and Religious Debates in Post-War Britain is published by Palgrave Macmillan at £45 (x + 144pp., ISBN 978-1-137-50655-9, hardback, also available in EPUB and PDF formats), and the book’s webpage is at:

http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/Surveying-Christian-Beliefs-and-Religious-Debates-in-PostWar-Britain/?K=9781137506559

Anglican cathedrals

Social scientific interest in the ministry and witness of cathedrals, especially in the contemporary Church of England, is continuing to grow. The latest offering is a series of ten research-focused (often quantitative and survey-based) studies of cathedrals in England and Wales by members of the research group around Leslie Francis, together with introductory and concluding chapters by Francis and Judith Muskett. Topics covered range over both the spiritual and touristic dimensions of cathedral life, and the perspectives are those of empirical theology, sociology of religion, and psychology of religion. Some authors report on individual cathedrals (including three in Wales – Bangor, Llandaff, and St Davids), while others range more widely. All show familiarity with relevant secondary literature, which is usefully listed in the bibliography. Anglican Cathedrals in Modern Life: The Science of Cathedral Studies is edited by Francis and published by Palgrave Macmillan at £57.50 hardback (xiv + 267pp., ISBN 978-1-137-55301-0, also available in PDF format). The book’s webpage is at:

http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/anglican-cathedrals-in-modern-life-leslie-j–francis/?sf1=barcode&st1=9781137553010

Education and secularization

David Voas has replied to an article by James Lewis in Journal of Contemporary Religion in which, utilizing census data from Anglophone countries, Lewis reasserted the thesis that higher education appears to have a secularizing effect. In his response Voas reiterated his own previous argument, that religious ‘nones’ are becoming normalized in their characteristics. He suggests that the approach adopted by Lewis, a cross-sectional snapshot of the whole population undifferentiated by age together with an over-dependence on write-in replies which are the census exception rather than the rule, misses the generational dynamics of religious change. His own analysis of the 2011 census for England and Wales, one of the sources drawn upon by Lewis, demonstrated that, whereas older ‘nones’ are more educated than Christians of the same age, younger ‘nones’ have fewer qualifications than their Christian counterparts. ‘The Normalization of Non-Religion: A Reply to James Lewis’ was published in Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2015, pp. 505-8, and access options are outlined at:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13537903.2015.1081354

Congregational bonding social capital

A seven-item measure of congregational expressions of Robert Putnam’s theory of bonding social capital was proposed and empirically tested (on 23,884 adult churchgoers in the Church of England Diocese of Southwark) in Leslie Francis and David Lankshear, ‘Introducing the Congregational Bonding Social Capital Scale: A Study among Anglican Churchgoers in South London’, Journal of Beliefs & Values, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2015, pp. 224-30. The research data supported the internal consistency reliability and construct validity of the scale. No significant differences in congregational bonding social capital were found between the sexes, but levels did increase with age and frequency of church attendance. Previous attempts to develop measures of congregational bonding social capital were also briefly reviewed. Access options to the article are outlined at:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13617672.2015.1041786

New Churches in the North East

The final report on the New Churches in the North East project has been published, written by David Goodhew and Rob Barward-Symmons of the Centre for Church Growth Research, Durham University. It lists and profiles 125 new churches founded in the region between 1980 and 2015, and with a combined usual Sunday attendance of around 12,000. The majority of these places of worship were started by non-mainline Churches or as independent congregations, and they are disproportionately BME in composition and evangelical-charismatic in churchmanship. The report is available at:

http://community.dur.ac.uk/churchgrowth.research/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/NCNEreportFINAL.pdf

Holocaust education

University College London’s Centre for Holocaust Education has published a major (273-page) report about young people’s engagement with the Holocaust: Stuart Foster, Alice Pettigrew, Andy Pearce, Rebecca Hale, Adrian Burgess, Paul Salmons, and Ruth-Anne Lenga, What Do Students Know and Understand about the Holocaust? Evidence from English Secondary Schools. Deriving from survey responses of 7,952 students aged 11-18 in 74 schools between November 2013 and October 2014, and 49 focus groups involving 244 students, it claims to be the largest single-nation study in the field. It finds that ‘despite the Holocaust being a staple in the curriculum for almost 25 years, student knowledge and conceptual understanding is often limited and based on inaccuracies and misconceptions’. The report is available at:

http://www.holocausteducation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/What-do-students-know-and-understand-about-the-Holocaust1.pdf

Muslims in the labour market

British Muslims are proportionately less well represented in top managerial and professional jobs than any other religious group. They are also disproportionately likely to be unemployed and economically inactive, and to have the lowest female employment participation rate of all religious groups. So claim Louis Reynolds and Jonathan Birdwell in their Rising to the Top, a new research report from think-tank Demos, based upon a review of the academic literature and secondary analysis of data from the census, Labour Force Survey, Higher Education Statistics Agency, Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, and other sources. Demographic, cultural, and other factors contributing to Muslim under-representation are explored, and a series of recommendations made to help redress it. The report is available at:

http://www.demos.co.uk/project/rising-to-the-top/

NEW DATASETS AT UK DATA SERVICE

SN 7786: 21st Century Evangelicals

Since 2010 the Evangelical Alliance, in association with research partners, has conducted a series of online surveys among self-selecting (and thus potentially unrepresentative) samples of self-identifying evangelical Christians in the UK. Surveys have mostly been carried out quarterly, with each devoted to a particular theme. An overview of the findings of the research programme, which is still ongoing, can be found in 21st Century Evangelicals: Reflections on Research by the Evangelical Alliance, edited by Greg Smith (Watford: Instant Apostle, 2015). The individual datasets for the surveys to 2015 have now been made available on a Special Licence access basis, together with reports, questionnaires, and other documentation. The dataset description is available at:

https://discover.ukdataservice.ac.uk/catalogue/?sn=7786&type=Data%20catalogue

SN 7799: National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, 2010-2012 (NATSAL III)

NATSAL III was conducted, through a combination of face-to-face interview and self-completion questionnaire, by NatCen Social Research between September 2010 and August 2012 among a sample of 15,162 adults aged 16-74 in Britain (including two booster samples of younger cohorts). The response rate was 58%. Three background questions on religion enable religious attitudes to a wide range of sexual issues to be explored, especially contraception, homosexuality, and sexual experiences. These questions enquired into: the personal importance of religion and religious beliefs; religious affiliation (using a ‘belonging’ form of wording); and frequency of attendance at religious services. The dataset description is available at:

http://discover.ukdataservice.ac.uk/catalogue/?sn=7799&type=Data%20catalogue

SN 7809: British Social Attitudes Survey, 2014

The British Social Attitudes (BSA) Survey commenced in 1983 and has been undertaken annually ever since, apart from in two years. The latest BSA was conducted by NatCen by means of face-to-face interview and self-completion questionnaire between August and November 2014, among a sample of 2,878 adults aged 18 and over in Britain. The standard questions on religious affiliation and attendance were asked of the whole sample; these have both an intrinsic interest but can also be used as variables for analysing replies to other topics. A few other religion questions (for example, about attitudes to religious extremists) were put to sub-samples. The dataset description is available at:

https://discover.ukdataservice.ac.uk/catalogue/?sn=7809&type=Data%20catalogue

 

Please note that the content of Counting Religion in Britain is © Clive D. Field, 2015

 

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Religion and party choice: Evidence from the BES 2015 face-to-face post-election survey

This post presents some data from the BES 2015 face-to-face post-election survey (a cross-sectional study with a sample size of 2,987), the fieldwork for which was undertaken between May-September 2015. The dataset and accompanying documentation can be obtained here. This post looks at voting behaviour at the 2015 general election on the basis of religious affiliation and attendance. 

Table 1 shows the overall profile for religious affiliation. Around a fifth (21%) of respondents identified themselves as Anglican / Church of England, 9% identified as Catholic, 6% as belonging to some other Christian denomination, 13% as Christian with no denominational affiliation, 8% as belonging to some other religion, and just over two-fifths (43%) said they did not have a religion.

Table 1: Religious affiliation

%
Anglican / Church of England 21
Catholic 9
Other Christian denomination 6
Other Christian – no denomination 13
Other religion 8
No religion 43

Source: BES 2015 face-to-face post-election survey.

Table 2 shows the distribution of party vote share at the general election across religious groups. A clear majority of Anglicans said they voted Conservative (59%), compared to 19% of whom supported Labour, while a plurality of Catholics voted Labour (40% compared to 35% who supported the Conservatives). A plurality of other Christians with or without a denominational affiliation also reported voting Conservative. Amongst those identifying with non-Christian faiths, a large majority said they voted for Labour (65%) compared to around a quarter who supported the Conservatives (23%). There was an almost even split amongst those with no religious affiliation, 33% and 34% of whom, respectively, supported the Conservative and Labour parties. Voting for UKIP was lowest amongst those belonging to non-Christian faiths, and highest at over a tenth of Anglicans, other Christians without a denomination, and those with no affiliation.

Table 2: Party voted for at 2015 general election, by religious affiliation

  Anglican(%) Catholic (%) Other Christian (denom.)(%) Other Chris.  (No denom.) (%) Other religion (%) None (%)
Con 59 35 41 44 23 33
Lab 19 40 28 32 65 34
Lib Dem 6 5 5 8 4 9
UKIP 13 9 6 12 2 12
Other party 2 11 21 5 6 13

Source: BES 2015 face-to-face post-election survey.

Table 3 shows party vote share at the 2015 general election based on religious attendance, divided into three groups (attends frequently: once a month or more; attends infrequently: less often than once a month; does not attend). Amongst frequent attenders, a plurality supported Labour (44% compared to 39% for the Conservatives) while amongst infrequent attenders there was much higher support for the Conservatives (48%) compared to Labour (28%). Amongst those who said they never attend religious services (whether they had a religious affiliation or not), 39% voted for the Conservatives compared to 31% who supported Labour. Support for UKIP was lowest amongst frequent attenders (5%), and was the same amongst infrequent attenders and non attenders (at 12%).

Table 3: Party voted for at 2015 general election, by religious attendance

  Frequent attender

(%)

Infrequent attender

(%)

Does not attend

(%)

Con 39 48 39
Lab 44 28 31
Lib Dem 7 6 8
UKIP 5 12 12
Other party 6 7 11

Source: BES 2015 face-to-face post-election survey.

Figure 1 shows the party vote share for attendance amongst Anglicans and Catholics. That is, each of these religious denominations has been subdivided into two groups: (i) frequent attenders and (ii) infrequent attenders or non attenders. Amongst Anglicans, there was broadly similar support for the Conservatives amongst those who attend frequently and those who attend infrequently or not at all. Labour support was somewhat higher amongst those Anglicans who regularly attend church. Amongst Catholics, those who go to church services on a regular basis were more likely to say they voted Labour compared to their co-religionists who attend less often or not at all. There was less variation in support for the Conservatives at the 2015 election based on levels of attendance amongst Catholics.

Figure 1: Vote share for the Conservative and Labour parties at 2015 general election, attendance by affiliation

2015 - vote share by attendance and affiliation

Source: BES 2015 face-to-face post-election survey.

Previous BRIN posts have used BES studies to look at the association between religious factors and party choice at the 2015 general election:

http://www2.brin.ac.uk/news/2015/religion-and-party-choice-at-the-2015-general-election/

http://www.brin.ac.uk/2015/the-2015-general-election-religious-affiliation-and-party-vote-share-across-constituencies/

Reference

Fieldhouse, E., J. Green., G. Evans., H. Schmitt, C. van der Eijk, J. Mellon and C. Prosser (2015) British Election Study, 2015: Face-to-Face Survey [computer file], February 2016.

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Cost of Dying and Other News

 

Cost of dying

Insurance company SunLife released the report of its ninth annual survey of the cost of dying on 13 October 2015. It was based on interviews conducted by YouGov, online on 8-20 May 2015 among 1,507 UK adults who have organized a funeral during the past four years, and by telephone between 16 April and 13 May among 100 UK funeral directors. The average cost of a basic funeral was found to have risen by 92% between 2004 and 2015, slightly less for a cremation (90%) and rather more for a burial (94%). A relatively tiny proportion of the absolute cost in 2015 (£3,693) was accounted for by the fee payable to the clergy or officiant at the funeral (£152 in 2015 for either a burial or cremation), a rise of 73% since 2007 which was substantially more than the 19% increase in doctor’s fees over the same period. Although religious funerals are still in a slight majority, this last bastion of religion is probably underpinned as much by tradition as by conviction. Of the sample of bereaved, just 1% admitted to knowing all the deceased’s funeral preferences, with 31% even having no idea whether their loved-one would have wished to be buried or cremated, and 53% uncertain whether to hold a religious or non-religious service. The report can be downloaded via the link at:   

https://www.sunlifedirect.co.uk/press-office/cost-of-dying-2015/

Church of England buildings

The first attempt in many years to audit the Church of England’s stewardship of its 15,700 church buildings was published on 12 October 2015: Report of the Church Buildings Review Group, chaired by the Bishop of Worcester and established by the Archbishops’ Council and Church Commissioners. It surveys the statistical and theological context before setting out general principles and specific recommendations for the future management of the Church’s places of worship. Some of the national quantitative information is tabulated below, from which it will be seen that 57% of all churches (and 67% of listed buildings) are to be found in rural districts, where only 17% of the population lives. Although per capita attendance is higher in the countryside than in urban/suburban areas, the average attendance is less than one-third in the former than the latter. Future closure of some churches is envisaged and the downgrading of others to ‘festival church’ status, involving the cessation of regular worship in favour of occasional offices and major seasonal services only. The report, which also includes data disaggregated to diocesan level, is available at: 

https://www.churchofengland.org/media/2383717/church_buildings_review_report_2015.pdf 

 

Urban

Suburban

Rural

Distribution (% across)

 

 

 

Population

25

58

17

All churches

12

31

57

Listed buildings

8

24

67

Church attendance

20

52

28

Other indicators

 

 

 

Population per church building

7,300

6,600

1,000

Attendance per capita (%)

1.4

1.6

2.9

Attendance per building

103

104

30

Average annual capital expenditure per building (£)

17,700

14,200

6,800

Cumbrian churches

One day after the Church of England national buildings report was published, the Churches Trust for Cumbria, an independent charity established in 2008, very belatedly released the results of its own interdenominational church buildings survey, the fieldwork for which was conducted as far back as 2012-13. The research covered two-thirds of the 600 Anglican, Methodist, and United Reformed churches in the county, highlighting the immense challenges which they face. Almost half (48%) expressed serious concerns regarding their financial viability. Only two-fifths (42%) appear to have been used for worship on a weekly basis. More than one-third (37%) were not used for non-worship purposes more than three times a year. Just 7% of congregations were aged 18 or under, with significant numbers more than 70 years of age – 47% in the Church of England, 51% for the Methodist Church, and 64% for the United Reformed Church. The report, which is somewhat lacking in terms of data and confusing in its presentation, can be viewed at: 

http://www.carlislediocese.org.uk/uploads/1356/Churches_Trust_for_Cumbria_Report_2015-pdf.html

Baptist Union research

The latest meeting of the Baptist Union Council took place on 7-8 October 2015. Among the reports received was one on ‘Fit for Mission’, for which Stuart Davison presented some preliminary findings from an ongoing piece of research among Baptist churches, to which 684 (35%) have responded so far. One interesting (albeit predictable) result concerned the big difference between the perception and reality of whether churches are growing or declining, the reality being measured in terms of membership numbers. The following table presents the headline data. Are churches in self-denial or is membership no longer an appropriate performance indicator? A report of the Council meeting is at:  

http://www.baptist.org.uk/Articles/450911/Baptist_Union_Council.aspx 

Churches … (% down)

Perception

Reality

Declining

13

49

Constant

49

25

Growing

36

26

Clergy well-being

Revisiting an 11-year-old dataset of 722 rural clergy, Christine Brewster found only partial linkages between churchmanship and psychological well-being (as measured via the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire). Although theological liberals did experience higher well-being than theological conservatives, controlling for sex, age, and personality, there was no significant difference between evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics nor between charismatics and non-charismatics. Possible explanations for these results are briefly offered. Her article, ‘Churchmanship and Personal Happiness: A Study among Rural Anglican Clergy’, is published in Rural Theology, Vol. 13, No. 2, November 2015, pp. 124-34, and access options are outlined at:  

http://www.maneyonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/1470499415Z.00000000050

Undergraduate religiosity

The higher degree of religiosity among women than men is a persistent feature of the religious landscape. Yet it may not be the function of biological sex per se as of basic psychological differences in levels of psychoticism, which are lower among women. This finding emerges from a study of the frequency of churchgoing and prayer and attitudes toward religion of 1,682 undergraduate students in Wales at an unspecified date. The authors (Gemma Penny, Leslie Francis, and Mandy Robbins) claim to be first in exploring whether sex differences in religiosity persist after individual differences in personality have been controlled for, concluding that once personality is factored in ‘biological sex adds no further impact on religiosity’. The data are reported in ‘Why are Women More Religious than Men? Testing the Explanatory Power of Personality Theory among Undergraduate Students in Wales’, Mental Health, Religion & Culture, Vol. 18, No. 6, 2015, pp. 492-502. Access options to the article are outlined at: 

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13674676.2015.1079603

Religious hate crimes

On 13 October 2015 the Home Office published Statistical Bulletin 05/15 on Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2014/15 by Hannah Corcoran, Deborah Lader, and Kevin Smith. Of the 52,528 hate crimes recorded by the police in that year, 3,254 (6%) were religion- or belief-related, a rise of 43% on 2013/14. The increase is mainly thought to reflect improved police recording but there was almost certainly some genuine growth in religion hate crimes, linked to trigger events leading to Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism. However, even these figures still represent a significant under-count, due to under-reporting, the Crime Survey for England and Wales suggesting that the true number of incidents of religiously-motivated hate crime each year may be as high as 38,000, fairly evenly split between household and personal crimes. Muslims are most likely to be victims of such crimes. The Statistical Bulletin and associated tables can be found at: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2014-to-2015

Strictly Orthodox Jewry

The latest research report from the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) was published on 15 October 2015: Daniel Staetsky and Jonathan Boyd, Strictly Orthodox Rising: What the Demography of British Jews Tells us about the Future of the Community. It explores the implications of the ‘extraordinary demographic growth of the strictly Orthodox sub-population’ in British Jewry, which is attributed to its high birth rate and low mortality. Making particular use of population pyramids, the authors assess the current and possible future numerical relationships between, and respective characteristics of, the strictly Orthodox and non-strictly Orthodox Jewish communities.  

The evidence base mostly comprises estimates derived from the 2011 census of England and Wales, including what is claimed to be the first presentation in the public domain of estimates of British Jewish fertility. The latter show that the strictly Orthodox possess the highest fertility of any religious group in the country and, all other things remaining unchanged, it is set to become the majority of British Jews during the second half of this century. The picture which emerges, through the growth of the strictly Orthodox, is thus one of reversal of the long-standing contraction of British Jewry and of its increasing religiosity. According to the Jewish Chronicle (16 October 2015, p. 14), aspects of the tone and content of the research have come under fire from the Interlink Foundation (an Orthodox charity). This is especially true of JPR’s estimate of the current maximum size of the Orthodox sub-population (43,500) and of the point at which it will account for half of Jewish births (2031). Interlink calculates that there are actually 58,500 Orthodox Jews and that they will provide the majority of births much sooner than 2031. JPR’s report can be downloaded from: 

http://www.jpr.org.uk/publication?id=4222#.Vh_ayMtdHX6

Jewish prisoners

The Jewish Chronicle for 9 October 2015 (p. 6) carried a news report about the ‘huge leap in [the] number of Jews behind bars’. This was based upon statistics supplied by the Ministry of Justice, from its National Offender Management Service (NOMS), in response to a Freedom of Information request made by the newspaper. The number of Jews in prison in England and Wales has apparently increased by 82% between 2002 and 2015, nearly four times more than the national prison population. It currently stands at 327, with violence against the person, theft, and drug offences the commonest causes of conviction of Jews. The same source also revealed significant growth in Muslim and Buddhist prisoners since 2002 while there are more than one-third fewer Anglican prisoners. The full NOMS data should be published in due course, but, in the meantime, the Jewish Chronicle report will be found at: 

http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/146678/huge-leap-number-jews-behind-bars

Baha’is

There are brief references to the early Baha’i presence in Great Britain in Peter Smith, ‘The Baha’i Faith: Distribution Statistics, 1925-1949’, Journal of Religious History, Vol. 39, No. 3, September 2015, pp. 352- 69. However, there are no data on British Baha’i membership for this period. Access options to the article are outlined at: 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-9809.12207/abstract

Dalai Lama’s insights

The British government and royal family have been rolling out the red carpet this past week for the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. However, according to a YouGov poll for the Free Tibet Campaign, the British public is inclined to side with the assessment of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, regarding the government’s motivations for its policy toward China and the protection of human rights in Tibet. ‘Money, money, money. That’s what this is about. Where is morality?’ asked the Dalai Lama. The majority of Britons (69%) agreed with his verdict, while only 8% thought he was wrong with 23% undecided. Online fieldwork was on 14-15 October 2015 among 1,671 adults. The data table is at:

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/jypdg9dbnd/FreeTibetResults_151015_China_Website.pdf

 

Posted in church attendance, Historical studies, Ministry studies, News from religious organisations, Official data, Religion and Politics, Religious prejudice, Rites of Passage, Survey news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring Religious Data in the British Social Attitudes 2014 Survey

The latest British Social Attitudes 2014 survey has recently been released via the UKDS, which holds all of the other surveys in the BSA series (as well as the data having being added to the online British Social Attitudes Information System). This post explores religious data available in the 2014 survey.

 

Religious Belonging

The BSA has asked a question on (current) religious affiliation in every survey conducted since 1983. The figures from the 2014 survey are similar to those obtained in recent years. Around half said they had no affiliation (49%), while those with an affiliation divided into Anglicans (18%), Catholics (8%), other Christian (17%: consisting of 5% with a specific affiliation and 12% with no denominational affiliation), and those belonging to some other religion (8%).

The full set of data on religious affiliation, covering 1983 onwards, is shown in Figure 1, visualised in an area chart which displays the proportion within each of the five categories across time. Noticeable are the clear decline in the proportion affiliating as Anglican (40% in 1983); the growth in the proportion identifying with some other religion (3% in 1983); and the steady increase in those with professing no affiliation – often labelled ‘religious nones’ (32% in 1983). The proportion self-identifying as Catholic was 10% in 1983.

Not shown on the chart but also an important aspect of change in religious belonging is the shift within the other Christian category: those who identify as such but without any specific denominational tradition have become a greater share of this group over time, with a decreasing proportion professing a clear denominational association – in particular, with the Nonconformist churches. The proportion identifying as Christian with no specific denominational allegiance was just 3% in 1983 while those with a denominational allegiance comprised 14%. The proportion in the other Christian category has remained static over time, but there has been considerable change within. Whereas in 1983 self-identification as Anglican was more than twice the level found for other Christian (excluding Catholics), in 2014 the levels are almost identical.

 

Figure 1: Religious Affiliation in Britain, 1983-2014
New Picture

Source: BSA surveys.

The BSA surveys have since 1991 asked about the religion (if any) that a respondent was brought up in. In 2014, 30% of respondents said they had been raised as Church of England/Anglican, 15% as Roman Catholic, 27% were raised in some other Christian tradition, with 9% brought up in some other religious faith. Nearly a fifth said they were not raised within a religious faith (19%). Back in 1991, when the question was first asked, the proportions were somewhat different. Well over half (57%) reported being raised as Church of England/Anglican, 14% as Roman Catholic, over a fifth within some other Christian tradition (22%), and 3% within a non-Christian faith. Just 6% said they were not brought up within a religious faith – a figure which has therefore tripled over recent decades. The proportion saying they were raised as Anglican / Church of England has therefore nearly halved over this period.

 

Religious Behaviour

The BSA surveys have also asked questions on religious behaviour, including on a regular basis about religious attendance and – in 2004 and 2014 – about membership of religious organisations and churches. Data on attendance and membership broken down by affiliation are shown, respectively, in Tables 1 and 2. Church attendance is divided into three categories: frequently (once a month or more often); infrequently (less often than once a month); never attends.

Table 1 shows that, across the categories, regular attendance is least common amongst Anglicans (18%) and much more common amongst Catholics (40%), other Christians (34%), and particularly those belonging to other religions (62%). Data from the 1983 survey show that, similarly, Anglicans were least likely to report being regular-attenders (18%), compared to other Christians (47%) and Catholics (55%). Infrequent attendance is most prevalent amongst Anglicans and they are also most likely to say they never attend services (beyond special occasions). Those belonging to other religions are least likely to report that they never attend services – less than a fifth. Splitting the other Christian category into those with and without a specific denominational affiliation, the latter group have reported higher levels of regular attendance. In 1983, 52% of those with a denomination affiliation said they attended frequently compared to 22% of those with no denomination. Three decades later, this difference is still evident: 48% of those with a denominational affiliation say they attend church regularly compared to 29% of those with no denominational allegiance.

 

Table 1: Attendance at religious services, by religious affiliation

 

Anglican (%)

Catholic (%)

Other Christian (%)

Other religion (%)

Frequently

18

40

34

62

Infrequently

30

26

26

21

Never

52

34

40

17

Source: BSA 2014 survey.

Question wording: ‘Apart from such special occasions as weddings, funerals and baptisms, how often nowadays do you attend services or meetings connected with your religion?’

 

Overall, the proportions belonging (actively or otherwise) to a religious organisation or church fell somewhat over the decades, from 35% to 26%. Those who used to belong comprised 24% and 25% in, respectively, 2004 and 2014. The proportion saying they had never belonged to such a group rose from just over two-fifths to nearly half.

Table 2 reports data based on affiliation from the 2014 survey. Anglicans are least likely to say that they are active within a group (29%), with active participation most evident amongst Catholics (32%). Catholics are also most likely to say that they are inactive members of a group. Overall, around two-thirds of Catholics belong to a group, compared to two-fifths of Anglicans, and around half of other Christians and those from some other religion. Anglicans and those from other religions are most likely to say they have never belonged to a church or religious organisation. Dividing the other Christian category into those with and without a denominational affiliation again shows a clear difference in levels of involvement. Of those with some form of denominational affiliation, around two-third either actively or passively belong to a church or religious organisation, considerably higher than the two-fifths of non-denominational Christians who say they do so.

 

Table 2: Belongs to a religious organisation or church, by religious affiliation

 

Anglican (%)

Catholic (%)

Other Christian (%)

Other religion (%)

Belong, actively participate

19

32

27

26

Belong, don’t actively participate

20

34

21

22

BELONG

39

66

48

48

Used to belong

24

21

31

15

Never belonged

36

13

21

37

Source: BSA 2014 survey.

Question wording:

‘About belonging to different kinds of groups or associations. Do you belong and actively participate; belong but don’t actively participate; used to belong but do not any more; or have never belonged to – a church or other religious organisation?’

 

Social Attitudes  

The BSA surveys also ask a range of question probing social and political attitudes, which can be examined on the basis of religious belonging or behaviour. Two such examples are used here: same-sex equality and tolerance for religious extremists.

In overall terms, opinion in favour of marriage equality for same-sex couples has increased markedly over time: from 13% in 1989 to 49% in 2007, and settling at around three-fifths in more recent surveys. Table 3 reports the proportions agreeing that gays and lesbians should have the right to marry, based on religious affiliation. The proportions agreeing with the statement have risen considerably over time. Even so, on each occasion, those with no affiliation are most likely to agree with same-sex marriage (increasing from 20% in 1989 to 74% in 2014). While very small proportions of Anglicans, Catholics and other Christians agreed in in 1989, about a half did so in 2014. The proportions in agreement amongst those from non-Christian religions are clearly lower (33% in 2014), although it should be noted that they obviously represent small proportions of the BSA survey samples.

 

Table 3: Percent agreeing that gays and lesbians should have the right to marry, by religious affiliation

 

1989 (%)

2007 (%)

2012 (%)

2013 (%)

2014 (%)

Anglican

10

32

43

46

49

Catholic

14

57

48

56

53

Other Christian

6

40

49

44

52

Other religion

33

36

23

33

No religion

20

60

70

69

74

Source: BSA surveys. Combines ‘strongly agree’ and ‘agree’.

Question wordings:

1989: ‘Do you agree or disagree that … Homosexual couples should have the right to marry one another.’

2007-2014: ‘How much do you agree or disagree that … gay or lesbian couples should have the right to marry one another if they want to.’

 

Finally, Table 4 reports attitudes towards a question asking about religious extremists being allowed to hold public meetings asked in the 2004 and 2014 surveys. In overall terms, attitudes on this question have hardened over time: in 2014, the proportion thinking religious extremists should (definitely or probably) be allowed to hold public meetings is 23%, lower than the 33% expressing the same view in 2004. The same is also the case for each group based on religious affiliation. In general, around a fifth to a quarter think they should be allowed in 2014, with large majorities against – highest at 78% of Anglicans. In 2004, the proportions in favour were in the range of 29-40%, with smaller – but still clear – majorities opposed (with the exception of other Christians, at 49%).

 

Table 4: Attitudes towards religious extremists being allowed to hold public meetings, by religious affiliation

 

Anglican (%)

Catholic (%)

Other Christian (%)

Other religion (%)

No religion (%)

2014
Should definitely or probably be allowed

19

21

20

22

25

Should probably or definitely not be allowed

78

70

73

70

69

Don’t know

3

9

7

9

6

2004
Should definitely or probably be allowed

33

29

40

33

31

Should probably or definitely not be allowed

61

65

49

67

63

Don’t know

6

6

11

0

6

Source: BSA surveys.

Question wording: ‘There are a number of groups in society. Should religious extremists be allowed to hold public meetings?’.

 

BRIN readers might be interested in earlier posts which used BSA survey data to look in more detail at affiliation and attendance – both levels of change overall and variation across social groups:

http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/2015/socio-demographic-groups-and-religious-affiliation-in-britain/

http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/2014/changes-in-attendance-at-religious-services-in-britain/

Posted in Research note, Survey news, Uncategorized, visualisation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Muslim Stories and Other News

 

Yearbook of Muslims in Europe

One important international reference work which BRIN has hitherto failed to mention in our regular round-ups of British religious statistical news is Yearbook of Muslims in Europe (ISSN 1877-1432), published by Brill since 2009 with Jørgen Nielsen as editor-in-chief. The core component of each volume is a country-by-country survey of the situation of Muslims throughout Europe, defined in its broadest sense. The most recent edition (Vol. 6), published towards the end of 2014 and reviewing developments in 2013, covers 45 countries. There is a chapter on the UK by Dilwar Hussain (pp. 625-48) which briefly mentions the results of the 2011 official census of religious affiliation (p. 625) and of opinion polls among and about Muslims (pp. 646-7). The first three volumes also included research articles and book reviews, but these have now migrated to Brill’s Journal of Muslims in Europe. Unfortunately, doubtless reflecting its high cost, there are relatively few UK holding libraries for the Yearbook of Muslims in Europe. Anybody interested in finding locations should consult the online catalogue COPAC for details.    

Regulating supplementary religious schools

Prime Minister David Cameron’s commitment, made in his recent speech to the Conservative Party conference, to regulate supplementary religious schools (such as Islamic madrassas) seems to have gone down well with most of the electorate, according to a Survation poll for the Huffington Post UK. The Government intends to consult on making these institutions in England register with the Department for Education and become subject to a light-touch inspection regime, closure being the promised fate of those found to be teaching intolerance. In the poll, conducted online on 7 October 2015 among 1,031 adult Britons, 62% endorsed Cameron’s plans, including 70% of over-55s and 77% of Conservative voters, while 13% were opposed and 24% undecided. Data tables were published on 8 October at:  

http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Cameron-Speech-Poll-Tables.pdf

Muslims in the labour market

British Muslims are proportionately less well represented in top managerial and professional jobs than any other religious group. They are also disproportionately likely to be unemployed and economically inactive, and to have the lowest female employment participation rate of all religious groups. So claim Louis Reynolds and Jonathan Birdwell in their Rising to the Top, a new research report from think-tank Demos, based upon a review of the academic literature and secondary analysis of data from the census, Labour Force Survey, Higher Education Statistics Agency, Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, and other sources. Demographic, cultural, and other factors contributing to Muslim under-representation are explored, and a series of recommendations made to help redress it. Although the official launch of the report is not until 21 October 2015, the text is already available online at: 

http://www.demos.co.uk/project/rising-to-the-top/

Travel to Islamic countries

A ‘summer of discontent’ has transformed the travel plans of Britons, according to a press release from travel deals company Travelzoo on 1 October 2015 and based on a survey among 2,000 UK adults by Censuswide in September 2015. The Islamist terrorist attack on British tourists in Tunisia, the migrant crisis, and the disruption at the Channel Tunnel/Eurostar are causing us to rethink where to holiday in future. Over half (54%) of respondents admitted that the events in Tunisia had put them off holidaying anywhere abroad, while 75% said that they would actively avoid all Islamic countries as destinations in future. Less than 1% would be prepared to visit Tunisia, even if the Government travel ban is lifted in the next few months. The press release is at:   

http://press.travelzoo.com/summer-of-discontent-has-transformed-britains-travel-habits

Islamic State (1)

A trio of online polls of adult Britons by YouGov on behalf of YouGov@Cambridge, and published on 2 October 2015, has explored public attitudes to British involvement in military action against Islamic State (IS) in three Middle Eastern countries. Fieldwork was conducted on 4-5 August in the case of Iraq (n = 1,707), 5-6 August about Libya (n = 1,972), and 24-25 September about Syria (n = 1,646). A few topline results are tabulated below, with the full data tables available under ‘Latest Documents’ on the YouGov@Cambridge website at:

https://yougov.co.uk/cambridge/ 

Approval (%) of these British actions against IS

In Iraq

In Libya

In Syria

Air strikes by RAF planes

57

53

59

Air strikes by aerial drones

60

56

66

Missile strikes from Royal Navy ships

52

48

56

Sending heavy weapons to local forces

41

36

39

Sending small arms to local forces

42

37

42

Sending regular UK troops

29

28

30

Sending UK special forces to fight

50

45

51

Sending UK special forces to rescue hostages

67

58

67

Sending UK military advisers to local forces

62

55

57

It will be seen that there is marginally more public appetite to engage IS in Iraq and Syria than in Libya, and that past reservations about involvement in Syria have weakened. British air strikes against IS, whether by plane or drone, find majority support in all three theatres of conflict, but there is some reticence about supplying military hardware to local armies to help them fight IS. The deployment of British ground troops appeals to under one-third, but there are fewer concerns about committing special forces in an offensive or hostage-rescue context.  

Islamic State (2)

Notwithstanding serious tensions between Russia and the West elsewhere in the world, 59% of Britons would approve of Anglo-American co-operation with Russian military forces in the fight against IS, support peaking among men (72%) and UKIP voters (75%). This is according to a YouGov poll published on 1 October 2015 for which 2,064 adults were interviewed online on 29-30 September, presumably mostly before news broke of the start of Russian air strikes against IS in Syria. Significantly fewer (38%) are willing for Britain and the USA to work with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria against IS, with disapproval running close on 32% and as many as 30% undecided. Endorsement of RAF participation in air strikes against IS in Syria has risen to 60%, three points more than at the beginning of July, with only 20% opposed. However, the potential deployment of ground troops against IS in Iraq continues to divide public opinion, with two-fifths in favour and the same proportion dissenting. YouGov’s own analysis of the survey, with a link to the data tables, is at:    

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/10/01/cooperation-russia-syria/

Sociology of prayer

Two of the eleven research chapters in A Sociology of Prayer, edited by Giuseppe Giordan and Linda Woodhead (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, xiv + 239pp., ISBN 9781409455851, paperback, £19.99) offer quantitative and qualitative content analyses of prayer requests in the British context. Tania ap Siôn, ‘Prayer Requests in an English Cathedral and a New Analytic Framework for Intercessory Prayer’ (pp. 169-89) reports on 1,658 prayer requests left at the shrine of St Chad in Lichfield Cathedral in 2010. Peter Collins, ‘An Analysis of Hospital Chapel Prayer Requests’ (pp. 191-211) considers 3,243 requests from chapels in two Middlesbrough acute hospitals over the period 1995-2006. More details about the volume, including ‘look inside’ previews, available at: 

http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409455851

Congregational bonding social capital

A seven-item measure of congregational expressions of Robert Putnam’s theory of bonding social capital is proposed and empirically tested (on 23,884 adult churchgoers in the Church of England Diocese of Southwark) in Leslie Francis and David Lankshear, ‘Introducing the Congregational Bonding Social Capital Scale: A Study among Anglican Churchgoers in South London’, Journal of Beliefs & Values, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2015, pp. 224-30. The research data support the internal consistency reliability and construct validity of the scale. No significant differences in congregational bonding social capital were found between the sexes, but levels did increase with age and frequency of church attendance. Previous attempts to develop measures of congregational bonding social capital are also briefly reviewed. Access options to the article are outlined at:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13617672.2015.1041786

Pastoral Research Centre publications

On 2 October 2015 the Pastoral Research Centre Trust, which undertakes socio-religious research into Roman Catholicism in England and Wales with particular reference to statistical sources, posted on its website an up-to-date list of its own reports and those of its predecessor, the Newman Demographic Survey (1953-64), the latter documents only declassified by the Catholic Church in recent years. These publications provide a much sounder basis for the quantification of the Catholic community during the past half-century than the data to be found in successive editions of the Catholic Directory. The list can be found on the Trust’s homepage at: 

http://www.prct.org.uk/

Education and secularization

In our post of 12 June 2015, we highlighted an article by James Lewis in Journal of Contemporary Religion in which, utilizing census data from Anglophone countries, he reasserted the thesis that higher education appears to have a secularizing effect. That article has now elicited a response from David Voas: ‘The Normalization of Non-Religion: A Reply to James Lewis’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2015, pp. 505-8. In it Voas reiterates his own previous argument, that religious ‘nones’ are becoming normalized in their characteristics. He suggests that the approach adopted by Lewis, a cross-sectional snapshot of the whole population undifferentiated by age together with an over-dependence on write-in replies which are the census exception rather than the rule, misses the generational dynamics of religious change. His own analysis of the 2011 census for England and Wales, one of the sources drawn upon by Lewis, demonstrates that, whereas older ‘nones’ are more educated than Christians of the same age, younger ‘nones’ have fewer qualifications than their Christian counterparts. Access options to the Voas article are outlined at: 

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13537903.2015.1081354

Scottish Gaelic and religion

On 30 September 2015 the Scottish Government published a report and data tables relating to the results of the Scottish Gaelic questions in the 2011 Scottish census. Five data tables give breaks by religion for Scottish Gaelic for the population aged 3 and over. They are: 

  • AT 250 2011 – Gaelic language skills by religion (council areas)
  • AT 251 2011 – Gaelic language skills by religion (civil parish bands)
  • AT 275 2011 – Use of Gaelic language at home by religion (council areas)
  • AT 276 2011 – Use of Gaelic language at home by religion (civil parish bands)
  • AT 277 2011 – Gaelic language skills by religion by age (Scotland)

These tables can be accessed, in Excel format, under the ‘language’ heading of the 2011 Scottish Census Data Warehouse at: 

http://www.scotlandscensus.gov.uk/ods-web/data-warehouse.html#additionaltab

The national-level picture by religion from AT 250 2011 is summarized in the table below. It will be seen that relatively few Scots, just 57,600, now speak Gaelic and that those who do are disproportionately from Protestant denominations other than the Church of Scotland (although they equate to only one in seven Gaelic speakers in Scotland, two-fifths of whom affiliate to the Church of Scotland).  

% across

Speaks Gaelic

Does not speak Gaelic

Total

1.13

98.87

Roman Catholic

1.02

98.98

Church of Scotland

1.36

98.64

Other Christian

2.94

97.06

Other religion

0.98

99.02

No religion

0.69

99.31

Religion not stated

1.09

98.91

Jewish grandparents

In anticipation of the Jewish festival of Sukkot and UK Grandparents Day (4 October 2015), World Jewish Relief recently commissioned Survation to conduct a telephone poll of self-identifying Jews in Great Britain about grandparents and grandchildren. Unsurprisingly, Jewish grandparents overwhelmingly said they would like to see more of their grandchildren, 92% ideally at least fortnightly, although in practice fewer (70%) saw them that frequently, while nearly one in five saw them less than a few times each year. One-third of Jewish grandchildren aged 18 and over also reported seeing their grandparents a few times a year or less. The principal information about the survey currently in the public domain is a press release dated 1 October 2015 from World Jewish Relief at: 

https://www.worldjewishrelief.org/news/sukkot-offers-grandchildren-chance-to-reunite-with-grandparents/

 

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