Religion in the Millennium Cohort Study

The Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education, University of London has recently released some findings from the third survey of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) as they relate to the religious affiliation and worship practices of mothers of five-year old children.

The MCS is tracking 18,818 babies born in the United Kingdom in 2000 and 2001. It is commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council with supplementary funding from a consortium of Government departments. Fieldwork for the third survey was undertaken by NatCen in 2006.

The religious data are highlighted in a press release issued by the Centre on 16 February 2010 and available at:

They are also explored in the chapter by Alice Sullivan on ethnicity, community and social capital in the new book Children of the 21st Century: The First Five Years, edited by Kirstine Hansen, Heather Joshi and Shirley Dex (Policy Press, 2010, ISBN 9781847424754, £24.99).

Headlines from the press release include the following:

  • White mothers are by far the most likely to say they have no religion (43%), while black African and black Caribbean mothers are most likely to identify as Christians 
  • Pakistani and Bangladeshi mothers are almost exclusively Muslim, whereas Indian mothers are more diverse, being mainly Hindu (41%), Sikh (35%) or Muslim (13%)
  • Half of the mothers who profess to have a faith attend religious services rarely or never
  • Sikh (32%) and Roman Catholic (31%) women are most likely to attend a weekly religious service, against 13% of Protestant mothers (61% of whom rarely or never go to public worship)
  • 65% of Muslim mothers rarely or never attend services, in line with the expectation of their faith that they will not frequent the mosque
  • Muslim fathers are substantially more likely than fathers from other religious groups to attend services weekly (57% against 20% of Catholic fathers)

The dataset for the third MCS survey is available from the Economic and Social Data Service as SN 5795, together with all other MCS datasets.

British Religion in Numbers: All the material published on this website is subject to copyright. We explain further here.

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