Taking Part, 2010-11

My colleague Siobhan McAndrew introduced BRIN users to the Taking Part surveys in her post on 12 April 2010. See:


These studies have been running continuously in England since 2005, with fieldwork by TNS-BMRB on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and four of its Arms Length Bodies.

The surveys cover many aspects of leisure, culture and sport (although it should be noted that they have no value as a guide to regular attendance at places of worship).

During the course of this summer the data for year 6 (mid-April 2010 to mid-April 2011) of Taking Part have progressively become available, culminating in the annual Taking Part User Event on 18 August and the release of the year 6 dataset by the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) on 25 August.

Face-to-face interviews were conducted with a cross-section of 14,002 adults aged 16 and over and 1,116 children aged 11-15 resident in private households in England, with information also collected from parents or guardians about 1,590 children aged 5-10.

As has been the custom, a couple of questions on religion were included, primarily for use as background demographic variables in analysing responses to other questions. However, given the large size of the sample, they also have independent value in their own right.

Asked ‘What is your religion?’ – which many would regard as a somewhat leading question – 62% of adults replied Christian, 4% Muslim, 3% other world faiths, 28% none, and 2% (spontaneously) atheist or agnostic.

The no religion category varied considerably by age, ranging from 46% among young persons aged 16-24 to 9% for the over-75s.

Muslim numbers naturally peaked among non-whites, but they also grew in direct relation with the number of children, from 2% in households with no children to 46% in those with five or more children.

Of those professing a religion, 41% said that they were currently practising it (practice was not defined). The proportion was highest among Muslims (88%), followed by Hindus (83%), Sikhs (78%), Buddhists (66%), Jews (61%), and Christians (36%).

Regionally, the range of practice was from 25% in the North-East to 58% in London (where non-Christians and Afro-Caribbean Christians are disproportionately to be found).

The practice figure was 36% for those whose first language was English and 78% among those for whom it was a second language, suggesting a strong linkage between ‘religiosity’ and ‘immigration’.

Taking Part is a rich source of data which can be explored further in one of three ways:

a) printed reports and spreadsheets can be found on the DCMS website, the individual Excel files containing results for questions on the arts, cycling and swimming, digital participation, heritage, libraries, museums and galleries, sport, and volunteering, all with disaggregation by religious affiliation (no religion, Christian, other religion) for the six years of data; these are available at:


b) users can register (for free) to access the Taking Part NETQuest service and run their own analyses online in real time (it actually is a very simple process), exporting the results as PDF documents, Excel files or text files; go to:


c) finally, the full dataset can be obtained from ESDS as SN 6855; see:


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

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