Denominational Weekly Attendance Estimates (2001)

2001 Weekly Attendance Estimates

The National Church Life Survey (NCLS) is undertaken in Australia every five years. In 2001 around 435,000 church attenders from over 7000 parishes and congregations in some 19 denominations took part in the NCLS.

One of the key analysis tasks arising from the NCLS is the preparation of weekly attendance estimates for each denomination in the survey.

Table 1 shows that about half of church attenders in participating denominations are Catholic, making the Catholic Church the largest denomination in Australia in terms of attendance.

Anglican attenders account for 12% of attenders and this church remains the second biggest denomination. The Uniting Church is the next biggest denomination, with 8% of attenders, followed by the Baptist Church with 7% and the Assemblies of God with 7% of attenders.

While the denominations involved in the NCLS cover much of church life in Australia, there are a number of smaller Protestant and Pentecostal denominations and groups that did not take part in the 2001 NCLS. Based on 1996 estimates, these would account for around 137,000 attenders. It should also be noted that the NCLS estimates do not include Eastern Orthodox churches and non-trinitarian groups such as Latter-day Saints or Jehovah's Witnesses.

Table 1
2001 Weekly Attendance Estimates

Denomination 2001 Estimated Weekly Attendance Percent of Total Attendance
Anglican 177700 11.7%
Apostolic 9100 0.6%
Assemblies of God 104600 6.9%
Baptist 112200 7.4%
Bethesda Ministries 2700 0.2%
Christian & Missionary Alliance 4100 0.3%
Christian City Churches 11400 0.7%
Christian Revival Crusade 11400 0.7%
Church of the Nazarene 1600 0.1%
Churches of Christ 45100 3.0%
Lutheran 40500 2.7%
Presbyterian 35000 2.3%
Reformed 7100 0.5%
Salvation Army 27900 1.8%
Seventh-day Adventist 36600 2.4%
Uniting 126600 8.3%
Vineyard 2500 0.2%
Wesleyan Methodist 3800 0.2%
CATHOLIC** 764800 50.2%
TOTAL 1524700 100.0%
* The total for Anglican & Protestant does not include non-participating Pentecostal and small Protestant denominations and groups. These were estimated in 1996 to total around 137,000 additional attenders.
** Estimates of Catholic attendance are from national headcounts and were generously supplied by the Pastoral Projects Office of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conferences.

For more detail, see Occasional Paper 3 - 2001 Church Attendance Estimates

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