Latest Anglican Mission Statistics and Other News

Church of England mission statistics

The Research and Statistics Department of the Church of England published Statistics for Mission, 2012 on 21 March 2014. The report extends to 65 pages and includes 25 tables and 42 figures, with data disaggregated to diocesan level, plus extensive commentary. As well as presenting the statistics for 2012, comparisons for 2003-11 are also often given, recalculated to reflect a new estimation procedure for parishes/churches not making any return or sending an incomplete return (in 2012 some estimation was done for 27% of parishes/churches). Other procedural changes have also been implemented, so it is recommended that the methodological notes in the report be studied. The document can be downloaded from:

As ever, the picture which emerges from these annual returns is a complex and mixed one, both at national and diocesan levels. However, although it is certainly not all doom and gloom (for example, one-fifth of parishes exhibited some signs of growth, and 1,900 ‘fresh expressions’ of church were noted), the dominant trend remains downward. BRIN’s key headlines from the report are:

Church attendance

  • A measure of the worshipping community is reported for the first time, 1,010,000 who attend services at least once a month, 20% being aged 0-17, 52% 18-69, and 28% 70 or over (against 12% in the population, and ranging from 13% in the Diocese of London to 41% in the Diocese of Norwich)
  • Joiners and leavers are also reported for the worshipping community, 73,000 (among them 38,000 who had not previously been churchgoers) and 51,000 respectively (albeit the latter figure is believed to be an undercount), with joiners representing 7% of the worshipping community
  • All age average weekly attendance in October has slowly declined between 2008 and 2012, by 4% to reach 1,047,000 (paradoxically, more than the worshipping community), four-fifths of these individuals worshipping on Sunday (three-fifths in the case of children and nine-tenths for adults)
  • All age usual Sunday attendance halved between 1968 (when first returned) and 2012, although it has levelled out somewhat since 2009

Festival attendance

  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day attract the largest congregations of the year (three times those on a usual Sunday), albeit somewhat smaller in 2012 (2,521,000) than 2011 and 4% less than 2008; nevertheless, attendance is affected by the day of the week Christmas falls upon and by the weather, 2006 being by far the best year in the past decade
  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services in 2012 achieved the greatest penetration of the population (5%) of any Anglican performance measures, the proportion rising to 9% in four southern dioceses
  • Christmas Day and Christmas Eve communicants similarly fluctuate year-on-year and represented 37% of Christmas congregants in 2012
  • Easter Eve and Easter Day attendances amounted to 1,395,000 in 2012, slightly up on 2011 but 2% down on 2008; there appears to be some variability, perhaps depending upon whether the date of Easter is early or late in any particular year
  • Easter communicants (once the litmus test of Anglican membership) represented 70% of Easter attendances in 2012 and have fallen by 4% since 2008; they equalled 8% of the adult population in 1930 but just 2% in 2012


  • Numbers on the electoral rolls continue to decline, with sharp falls whenever the roll is renewed, followed by modest increases as new people are added to the roll; the figure was 1,187,000 in 2012, or 3% of the adult population (compared with 4% in 1995 and a peak of 15% in the late 1920s)
  • There were 23,000 confirmations in 2012, barely one-tenth of the 1901 figure, and 29% lower than in 2003, with, as always, the majority of confirmands (59%) female

Rites of passage

  • Infant and child baptisms decreased by 5% between 2003 and 2012, but, within that total, child baptisms have risen by 23%, almost certainly explained by parents seeking to maximize chances of getting their children into a church school (a similar phenomenon occurring for the same reason among Roman Catholics)
  • The absolute number of marriages conducted by the Church of England has remained broadly stable since 2003 but is much diminished from former times (according to data collected by the state rather than the Church)
  • The number of funerals conducted by the Church of England was, at 162,000, 13% fewer in 2012 than 2008 (and 50,000 less than in 2003), the 2012 figure being equivalent to 34% of all deaths (ranging from just 16% in the Diocese of London to 63% in the Diocese of Hereford)

Funeral planning

Speaking of funerals, SixthSense, the market intelligence arm of YouGov, published a new consumer report on funeral planning on 21 March 2014. This appears to contain some information that BRIN readers would find of interest, including about types of funeral and officiants at services, and which is almost impossible to obtain from other sources. Unfortunately, we have no findings to share with you since the report costs a cool £3,500 to download, which is a bit beyond our (non-existent) budget! The research is based upon two partially overlapping samples of UK adults aged 18 and over, interviewed online on 8-19 January 2014, one being nationally representative (n = 2,072) and the other of people who had organized a funeral in the past five years (n = 1,488). Public domain outputs are currently restricted to a press release at:

and an outline of content and methodology at:

Clergy wellbeing

Clergy are certainly not the best-paid occupation in Britain, but they enjoy the greatest life satisfaction, according to an unpublished analysis by the Cabinet Office of ‘Life Satisfaction by Occupation in Mid-Career’, some data from which have obviously been released to the press to coincide with a new report from the Legatum Institute on Wellbeing and Policy. Using official statistics (from the Annual Population Survey for 2011-13 in the case of life satisfaction), 274 occupations were ranked in terms of mean income and satisfaction, and clergy headed the league table for the latter, with publicans and managers of licensed premises propping it up. The top ten occupations in terms of life satisfaction are:


Mean Income £

Satisfaction Rating (out of 10)

1 Clergy



2 Chief executives/senior officials



3 Managers/proprietors in agriculture/horticulture



4 Company secretaries



5 Quality assurance/regulatory   professionals



6 Health care practice managers



7 Medical practitioners



8 Farmers



9 Hotel/accommodation managers/proprietors



10 Skilled metal/electrical/electronic   trades supervisors



The complete table, which is based on occupations for which there were more than 200 observations, can be found on various media sites, perhaps most conveniently on the BBC’s at:

There is also a visualization of the data on page 72 of the Legatum Institute report at:—march-2014-pdf-.pdf?sfvrsn=5

The findings will doubtless lead to much debate (and denial) about the extent to which money buys happiness and particular occupations are ‘cushy’. The clergy have long been the butt of jokes about only working one day a week, but there is also a fairly extensive body of evidence about the stress levels which they experience.

Sigbert Jon Prais (1928-2014)

Professor Sigbert Jon Prais FBA died on 22 February 2014, aged 85. Born in Frankfurt, he left Germany with his family as a Jewish refugee from the Nazis in 1934 and settled in Birmingham, becoming a British citizen in 1946. Following tertiary education at the Universities of Birmingham and Cambridge, his career was spent in economics, in a variety of contexts, in Britain and abroad. He had been Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Social and Economic Research since 1970. An obituary was published in the online edition of The Times for 19 March 2014 and (heavily abridged) in the print edition of 20 March; this can be viewed by subscribers.

Prais’s principal publications were, not unexpectedly, on economic subjects. However, he also had a keen interest in Jewish statistics and demography, apparently commencing with a survey of Birmingham Jewry in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. During the 1960s and early 1970s he made a major contribution to professionalizing the collection and analysis of Jewish statistics for Britain. The need was great for, in a seminal paper to a two-day conference in April 1962, he lamented that ‘there is hardly a single figure that can be quoted with any firmness for the Jewish community of Great Britain today’. He was influential in the establishment by the Board of Deputies of British Jews in 1965 of a Statistical and Demographic Research Unit, and acted as its Honorary Consultant for some time.

At this period, also, Prais wrote a series of important articles on aspects of Jewish demography for the Jewish Journal of Sociology, several in conjunction with Marlena Schmool (who later became head of the Research Unit). These papers were subsequently reprinted by the Board of Deputies in its Studies in Anglo-Jewish Statistics Reprint Series. The titles which BRIN has identified are:

  • 1967 (Vol. 9, No. 2)*: ‘Statistics of Jewish Marriages in Great Britain, 1901-1965’
  • 1968 (Vol. 10, No. 1)*: ‘The Size and Structure of the Anglo-Jewish Population, 1960-65’
  • 1970 (Vol. 12, No. 1)*: ‘Synagogue Marriages in Great Britain, 1966-8’
  • 1970 (Vol. 12, No. 2)*: ‘Statistics of Milah and the Jewish Birth-Rate in Britain’
  • 1972 (Vol. 14, No. 2): ‘Synagogue Statistics and the Jewish Population of Great Britain, 1900-70’
  • 1973 (Vol. 15, No. 2)*: ‘The Fertility of Jewish Families in Britain, 1971’
  • 1974 (Vol. 16, No. 2): ‘A Sample Survey on Jewish Education in London, 1972-73’
  • 1975 (Vol. 16, No. 1)*: ‘The Social Class Structure of Anglo-Jewry, 1961’

Contributions by Prais on Jewish statistics to edited volumes include:

  • 1964: ‘Statistical Research: Needs and Prospects’, Jewish Life in Modern Britain, edited by Julius Gould and Shaul Esh, London: Routledge & Kegan Pail
  • 1972*: ‘Méthodes de recherches démographiques sur le judaisme britannique: rapport sur les travaux du groupe de recherche statistique du Board of Deputies’, Démographie ei identité juives dans l’Europe contemporaine, edited by Willy Bok and Isiel Oscar Schmelz, Bruxelles: Éditions de l’Université de Bruxelles
  • 1981: ‘Polarization or Decline’, Jewish Life in Britain, 1962-77, edited by Sonia and Vivian Lipman, New York: K.G. Saur

Asterisked publications were co-authored with Schmool. The foregoing is likely to be an incomplete list, so, if you spot omissions, do let BRIN know.


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