Church attendance up in 2021 – finally, some good news!

Church leaders can take heart from research showing that Australians returned to church in 2021, after a 6 per cent decline in 2020.

Despite continued disruptions due to COVID-19, church attendance in Australia returned to pre-COVID levels in 2021, according to new data from NCLS Research.

The data was collected as part of the NCLS 2021 Australian Community Survey, with the full survey report to be released in February.

The survey aims to track the views of the wider Australian community on religious, spiritual and social issues. Conducted online, 60 questions were asked to a sample of around 1,200 Australians of different ages, genders and locations. Survey results can then be compared with those from churchgoers who take part in the 2021 National Church Life Survey – which has been extended until the end of February 2022 due to COVID.

Previous Australian Community Surveys have been conducted by NCLS Research and partners in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2016, 2009, 2002 and 1998, with plans to conduct the survey again in 2021.

Along with church attendance, the Australian Community Survey also explores respondents’ attitudes to Christianity, religion and spirituality, attitudes to a range of social issues, social cohesion, wellbeing, civic contributions, and includes a family violence study.