Australians attending church

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Australians attending church

One in five Australians were frequent attenders at religious services in 2021.

After a slump in reported attendance in 2020, more Australians say they have attended religious services in 2021, returning to levels prior to the pandemic.

Attendance at religious services

In each Australian Community Survey run by NCLS Research, Australians have been asked the following question: “Apart from such special occasions as weddings, funerals, etc., how often do you attend religious services?” (In 2021 a separate question asked about attending online).

The results across five years show an increase in attendance from 18% in 2016 up to 22% in 2019.  In 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance dropped to 16%.   However, in 2021, around one in five Australians (21%) reported attending religious services frequently i.e., at least monthly.  Among frequent attenders, 13% attended weekly or more often. 

In 2021 a further 30% of Australians were infrequent attenders: this is made up of 12% who go once or a few times a year and 18% who attend less than yearly.  Around half of all Australians (49%) reported that they never attend religious services.

 

More Australians return to religious services in 2nd year of pandemic

 

A quarter go online for religious services during pandemic

Nearly a quarter of Australians say they attended religious services online, both in 2020 and 2021. This remained constant during both years of the pandemic.

Around 6% of Australians attend special events such as baptisms and funerals and around one in ten (11%) is a regular attender online.

Authors:
Ruth Powell, Kathy Jacka
Data Sources:

2021 Australian Community Survey run by NCLS Research, November 2021 (n = 1,286)

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