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.