Two extremely useful bi-monthly newsletters for anybody interested in religious and social statistics are Quadrant (ISSN 1351-9220) and FutureFirst (ISSN 2040-0268). They are published by Christian Research and Brierley Consultancy respectively and distributed to members of each organization as part of their subscription package. Personal annual subscriptions to Christian Research currently cost £30 and to Brierley Consultancy £18. Every issue of both these newsletters runs to six pages and comprises a mixture of substantive articles and snippets of information, including quite a bit of international data.
The latest issue (No. 8, April 2010) of FutureFirst contains two such global articles, on ‘Muslims and evangelicals’ and on ‘American religion’. Of the Britain-related content, perhaps most interesting is the relatively short piece and accompanying map estimating county church attendance in England in 2010, projected from the 2005 English church census which was conducted by Christian Research. Overall current Sunday churchgoing in England is calculated at 5.7% of the population, but 31 of the 47 counties are below this figure. The lowest percentage is recorded by South Yorkshire and the highest by Greater London, closely followed by Merseyside. Factoring in mid-week attendance brings the national total for 2010 up to an estimated 6.3%.
Distributed with this particular issue of FutureFirst is a six-page supplement on Roman Catholic Church statistics in England and Wales, prepared by Peter Brierley and available for £1.00 from him at The Old Post Office, 1 Thorpe Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent, TN10 4PW. The data in it are substantially abstracted from Tony Spencer’s invaluable Digest of Statistics of the Catholic Community in England & Wales, 1958-2005, Volume 1, which can still be purchased from the Pastoral Research Centre, Stone House, Hele, Taunton, Somerset, TA4 1AJ. Brierley reproduces statistics for the years 1997-2005, adds some later figures from the Catholic Directory and produces estimates for 2010. The topics covered comprise Catholic population, numbers joining the Church, marriages, deaths and mass attendance. There is a general pattern of steady decline. Discrepancies between the Church’s counts of mass-goers and the four English church censuses since 1979 are noted.
The most recent issue of Quadrant is No. 19 (March 2010). This includes features on: the latest church attendance statistics from the Baptist Union and the Church of England; the British Social Attitudes Survey, 2008; the diversity audit of the Church of England; the Citizenship Survey, 2008-09; and the online poll of attendees at Spring Harvest. You can also read more about all these topics in news posts on the British Religion in Numbers website.