NCLS Research

Population Profiles

We have assembled 'Population Profiles' for each of 14 different groups of people. They are based on national sample survey data from the 1998 Australian Community Survey. They are all from the booklet, Profiling Australians, where each Population Profile occupies a double-page spread that is suitable for photocopying onto an A3 sheet for use in discussion groups and meetings.

Population Profiles exist for:
Each Population Profile includes the following information:

Personal characteristics

This data includes the demographic characteristics of the group such as age, sex, education, income and marital status. Demographic characteristics can be important markers of cultural difference.

Work and leisure

This data includes the involvement of the group in the workforce, leisure activities, voluntary organisations and friendship networks. Research such as that in Why People Don't Go to Church (Bellamy et al, 2002) shows that people's social connections have an important influence on their church attendance patterns. Other research points to the effect of people's work on their church attendance patterns (eg de Vaus, 1985). Differences between groups in regard to their leisure activities can point to cultural differences and areas where churches might be able to make connections.

Beliefs and church attendance

Religious beliefs are strongly associated with church attendance patterns. The research behind books such as Why People Don't Go to Church also shows that personal values and attitudes towards the churches are relatively important in predicting patterns of attendance. We present information for each group in regard to church attendance levels, adherence to Christian beliefs, and interest in alternative spiritual practices.

Ministry needs and opportunities

Some practical implications and suggestions that emerge from the data have been included with each Population Profile.

The Population Profiles, from 1998 data, highlight similarities and differences between a group and the population as a whole. We have included here only those differences that are statistically significant. Readers with a background in statistics may be interested to know that all statistical differences discussed in this booklet are significant at the p<0.05 level.

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