Affiliation and Attendance from 1983

Here we present some charts and tables for religious affiliation and attendance at a place of worship from the British Social Attitudes surveys, 1983-2008.

The British Social Attitudes (BSA) surveys report religious affiliation and frequency of attendance at a place of worship every year. The BSA has run almost every year since 1983 and allows us to examine change over time in key attitudes, values and policy preferences.

The BSA is carried out by NatCen Social Research, which publishes annual reports on the survey’s most recent findings. Since 2012 these have been made available online to all internet users.

The BSA is a random sample survey. In the summaries below, we present data on affiliation and attendance for those identifying as white. Ethnic minority groups were not sampled effectively until 1993, making comparisons over time more challenging. Ethnic minority groups also exhibit great religious diversity, so that it is not possible to generate reliable estimates for affiliation with particular faith communities within ethnic minority groups. Alternative sources such as the decadal Census, Understanding Society longitudinal survey and Annual Population Survey will be more appropriate for examining ethnoreligious minority groups.

The data here are shown by birth cohort because generational change is the crucial driver of change in religious affiliation and attendance. For more discussion of these trends, see D. Voas and A. Crockett, ‘Religion in Britain: Neither Believing nor Belonging’Sociology (2005), vol. 39, pp. 11-27.








Data on affiliation over time by birth cohort: click here.









Data on attendance over time by birth cohort: click here.


If you would like to explore the BSA further, the datasets for each year of the British Social Attitudes surveys are available via the UK Data Service following registration.

Using these registration details, researchers can either download the individual-level data and analyse them using statistical software, or analyse the data online using the Nesstar tool. Religious affiliation is included in the Derived Variables category, and religious attendance in the Religion category.

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