Links and Resources

This selection does not aim to be exhaustive, but points you to a selection of sources and contact points for further exploration.

The links fall into six groups.

1.  Centres for religious data online 2.  UK statistical sources online 3.  Statistics provided by religious bodies
4.  Other faith community contact points 5.  Sociology of religion research centres 6.  Public policy research and qualitative sources

1. Centres for religious data online is a collection of over 43,870 adherent statistics, with references to published membership, adherent and congregation statistics for over 4,200 religions and faith groups worldwide.
Resource for social and political data for Northern Ireland, including religious data.


Vital resource for US data on religion, with extensive coverage of religious practice and belief internationally. ARDA is hosted by Pennsylvania State University and directed by Roger Finke, a leading sociologist of religion.
Eurel is an encyclopaedia-style online resource which provides data and background information on the social and legal status of religion for EU member states. It also provides a periodic newsletter on updates in survey research, new literature in the sociological and legal study of religion, and changes in law and public policy affecting religion. It is led by the research centre PRISME-SDRE at the University of Strasbourg, which co-ordinates contributions from leading sociologists and legal scholars of religion from across Europe.
A centre for American religious research and dissemination, specialising in policy-focused research and congregational studies.
The Pew Global Attitudes Project surveys public opinion across the world, and provides reports, commentaries, and the raw data themselves. Religion is often studied, or used to explain other issues.
Part of the broader Pew Global Attitudes Project, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Affairs is specifically focused on the intersection of religion and public affairs. It was established in 2001 and is directed by Luis Lugo. The site hosts numerous reports, tables and interactive tools for data on belief, practice, affiliation and attitudes across the world.

A Vision of Britain through Time

An important geo-historical website, this  includes a section on Roots & Religion in its ‘Statistical Atlas’ section.

It provides maps of religious affiliation from the 2001 Census, and maps of church attendances from the 1851 Census.

The ‘Census Reports’ section also indexes the 1851 Census Report, with a list of all the tables published for England and Wales and for Scotland.

This site and web resource was developed partly to foster understanding of the Muslim community in Britain, with a specific interest in cataloguing and describing each active mosque in Britain in the ‘Map and Directory’ section. This is underpinned by the best dataset currently available of mosques in Britain, including geocoding of mosques, information on their theological or cultural orientation, capacity, and facilities for women. It is continually updated by site developer and independent researcher Mehmood Naqshbandi.

Muslims in Britain

2. UK statistical sources online

The ESDS, run by the Universities of Essex and Manchester, is a national data archiving and dissemination service. Surveys such as the British Social Attitudes survey and Eurobarometer can be ordered here. The site also acts as a portal to other surveys, such as the European Social Survey.

New users must register to gain access to datasets. Access restrictions may apply to some users or usages – you may need a higher education affiliation and they are generally for non-commercial use.

Hosts data drawn from the 2001 England and Wales Census and the quarterly Labour Force Survey. It also provides reports explaining the data, and breakdowns by age, sex, and geography.

The 2001 Scottish Census included two questions on religious identity (affiliation and religion of upbringing) with additional categories for the Church of Scotland and Roman Catholicism. A report summarising the data is available at this link.
An open access service which allows you to find detailed statistics, including on the main religious groupings, for particular geographical areas from local authority level down to lower-layer output area (about 1,500 people).
The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, based at the University of Connecticut, is a leading archive of social science data, particularly surveys of public opinion. The data range from the 1930s to the present. Most are US-specific, but over 50 nations are represented. BRIN presently catalogues 64 datasets relevant to religion in Britain archived at the Roper Center. Access is subscription-based.
A lead partner of the ESDS. It hosts the History Data Service as well as, a one-stop gateway to data and support services for academic researchers looking to access the 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001 UK censuses.
The UK Data Archive


methods@manchester is a web resource which showcases knowledge and expertise in social science research methods at the University of Manchester. It acts as a portal to course listings, including to short courses and seminars open to other researchers and the public. Slides and recordings are also available from previous workshops and seminars. There is also a discussion forum, Ask methods@manchester, for those looking for methods-related information.

3. Statistics provided by religious bodies

Christian Research, incorporated into the Bible Society in 2008, published seven hard copy editions of Religious Trends between 1997 and 2007 as an annual or biannual publication. Religious Trends provided data on church membership, ministry and churches for different Christian denominations, alongside reports of survey and official data on the UK population, and tables of data from its periodic church censuses.

The first edition was published as an outgrowth of the UK Christian Handbook, a crucial directory now available online to subscribers.

Central resource hosting the annual Church Statistics, as well as a summary of relevant polling data, cathedral attendance, data on the clergy, and reports analysing published data.

The JPR has conducted several surveys of the Jewish community in Britain, as well as publishing reports analysing data from the 2001 Census.

Its Director of Social and Demographic Research is Dr David Graham, an expert on the social demographics of the British Jewish community.

Hosts the ‘Statistics for Mission’ resource page.

Methodist Church of Great Britain

A summary of statistics relating to Islam in Britain, compiled from external sources.

4. Other faith community contact points

For these organisations, few data appear to be available online. We advise contacting the organisations themselves to inquire further. We make no claim to these bodies being representative of all members of the relevant community – they should serve as a useful starting point.

The British Humanist Association
The Buddhist Society
Hindu Council UK
The Institute of Jainology
National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United Kingdom
The Network of Sikh Organisations
The Pagan Federation

5. Sociology of religion research centres

Founded in 1975, this is one of the largest study groups within the British Sociological Association.

The current Chair is Dr Abby Day.

A joint funding programme of the AHRC and the ESRC, sponsoring research on the relationship between religion and society.

The Programme is directed by Professor Linda Woodhead and fosters collaborative research across the arts, humanities and social sciences.

An international network of associations of scholars working in the field of new religious movements, directed by Massimo Introvigne and based in Turin.

Information Network Focus on Religious Movements. Independent charity based at the London School of Economics, founded in 1988 by Professor Eileen Barker. This provides advice to those looking to find out more about new and alternative religious movements, and also hosts a unique database of over 1,000 NRMs.


Both a shared space and an institute for encouragement of mutual understanding  between people of different faiths and beliefs.

The Multi-Faith Centre also publishes the directory Religions in the UK, edited by Professor Paul Weller, of which the fourth edition (2007) is the most recent.

This includes a directory of over 5,000 listings of local and national organisations in the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian communities in the UK, and contact points for a range of other religious groupings.

The Multi-Faith Centre
Logo for the NSRN

The Non-Religion and Secularity Research Network is directed by Dr Stephen Bullivant, Dr Stacey Gutkowski and Lois Lee. It was established in 2008 as an international, interdisciplinary network of researchers. Its aim is to to centralise existing research on the topic of non-religion and secularity, facilitate discussion, and run a scholarly journal, Secularism and Nonreligion.

The Non-Religion and Secularity Research Network

6. Public policy research and qualitative sources

If you are not interested in “religion in numbers”, but are interested in finding new primary sources for religion in society, a wide variety of sources such as oral histories and transcripts from focus groups are hosted here.

ESDS Qualidata

A crucial resource for data on subjective religious experience. Based at the University of Wales, Lampeter, this holds over 6,000 accounts of religious experience, compiled since 1924. The Centre also maintains a library of over 2,000 volumes.

Alister Hardy

Religious Experience Research Centre

The BBC provides an accessible guide to faiths in Britain, together with a selection of images, and links to television and radio programmes, and message boards.
The Guardian hosts CiF belief – a lively comment and discussion forum on belief and unbelief.

Theos is a ‘public theology think-tank’ which sponsors surveys, commissions and produces reports, and hosts events. Its mission is to provide research, analysis and advice on religion and socio-political change, and to make a case for the place of religion in public life.

Ekklesia is a web-based religion and society think-tank and current affairs religious website, advocating a ‘post-Christendom’ approach to social policy.

ippr is a progressive think-tank which runs a research stream on faith, identity and the state among other projects.

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