In any given week, some 1.52 million people or 8.1% of Australians can be found in a variety of Protestant and Catholic Churches according to the 2001 National Church Life Survey (NCLS). Half of this estimated attendance were Roman Catholic (764,800 in 2001). Anglicans formed the second largest single group (12% or 177,700 people), although if attendance for the various Pentecostal Churches were aggregated then they would form the second largest group of Christians in Australia.

According to the 2001 Census, there were 3,881,162 Anglicans in the Australian community, some 123,196 fewer Anglicans than a decade earlier (-3.1%) while the overall population grew by 11.4%.

Estimated weekly attendance decreased over the same period from 190,900 to 177,700, a fall of 13,200 or -7%. This suggests that only 5% of Anglicans participate in Anglican Churches on a weekly basis. If the scope is broadened to at least once a month, an estimated 239,000 Anglicans regularly participate in the life of our Church. This suggests that four out every five Anglicans attend weekly.

Significant variations exist in the distribution of Australian Anglicans and their estimated weekly attendence across Australia, mainly between urban and rural areas:

  • 74% of estimated weekly attendance may be found in the seven ‘urban’ dioceses of Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra & Goulburn and Newcastle;
  • although estimated weekly attendance in these urban dioceses fell by an average of 1%, only Sydney showed a strong increase (11%) as did Canberra & Goulburn (4%)while it decreased in all others;
  • amongst the remaining 'rural' dioceses the decline in estimated weekly attendance averaged approximately 20%, with the largest declines being in Ballarat (-36%), Tasmania (-33%), Northern Territory (-30%), Willochra (-26%) and Bathurst (-22%).

Additional details including information about age profiles and changes to church size may be downloaded here. A presentation about these demographic challenges and what might be done to address them may be downloaded here.