About Australian Community Surveys

Tracking Australians' social attitudes, spirituality, religion and wellbeing

The Australian Community Survey by NCLS Research

NCLS Research aims to provide a picture of social attitudes, spirituality, religion and wellbeing in Australian communities.

To this end, Australian Community Surveys have been conducted by NCLS Research and partners in 1998, 2002, 2009, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Some areas canvassed by the survey include:
• Attitudes to a range of social issues
• Dimensions of religion and spirituality
• Attitudes to Christianity and the churches
• Contact with churches
• Social cohesion
• Way of life and Wellbeing
• Civic contributions
• Family violence study


The goals for the Australian Community Survey are:

  1. To compare the attitudes of church attenders and the wider community on a range of social issues.
  2. To track religiosity trends over time, including religious beliefs, practices and experience.
  3. To evaluate how the Australian community views the role of churches in society.


The Australian Community Survey was an online survey conducted in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020 by NCLS Research, with a sample drawn from a large online research panel. The survey was distributed by Online Research Unit (ORU). ORU meets ISO 20252 and ISO 26362 standards for both market research and panel work.

The online survey instrument is around 60 questions and replicates questions from the National Church Life Survey and earlier Australian Community Surveys.

The Australian sample of around 1,200 persons will be representative of the adult population on age, gender and location.  Results will be weighted to be representative of the population on age, gender and education, in accordance with methodology used for the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes.  

Error guide

The maximum margin of error on a random sample of 1258 at a 95% level of confidence is 2.8%. That is, assuming a simple random sample, there is a 95% chance that a sample result falls within ±2.8% of the result for the Australian population.


Commission your own question

Expressions of interest in commissioning a question in the Australian Community Survey, are invited for a limited time. Contact the NCLS Research office. Email: info@ncls.org.au or phone (02) 9139 2525.


Related Articles

2020 Australian Community Survey findings video series

Australians' spiritual profile, sources of stress, importance of spiritual practices and openness to church.

Australians' views on the role of churches

2018 Australian Community Survey results

Easter: when churches and communities connect

Some 16% of Australians attend an Easter service during Holy Week.