Comparing Australian Church Attenders by Church Background

This research profile compares three groups of attenders who participated in the 2016 National Church Life Survey:

  1. Newcomers,
  2. Switchers/transfers, and
  3. Long term attenders

Comparisons are presented on the NCLS vitality measures.


The People of this Church: Demographics, patterns of attendance, involvement in church life of groups of attenders.

Church Vitality (Core Qualities of Church Life): A detailed look at each of the nine core qualities that shape the vitality of the churches, comparing groups of attenders.
Note: The surveys on which this profile is based were filled out at local churches.

Who took part:

Newcomers in 2016: 4,746 adult attenders (aged 15+ years, who are newcomers to church in the last five years with no church background) from all denominations who completed the 2016 National Church Life Survey.

Switchers/transfers in 2016: 44,282 adult attenders (aged 15+ years, who changed churches in the last five years) from all denominations who completed the 2016 National Church Life Survey.

Long term attenders in 2016: 118,526 adult attenders (aged 15+ years, who have attended their church for more than five years) from all denominations who completed the 2016 National Church Life Survey.

The representativeness of profile results may be affected by different levels of participation in National Church Life Surveys. To some extent, possible skews can be corrected by weighting results. Data in this report are weighted to account for different levels of NCLS participation from

  1. different denominations/movements, and
  2. local churches of different sizes.

Attenders from the following denominations/movements are represented in the results in this profile:
Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Uniting Church, Australian Christian Churches, C3 Church, International Network of Churches, Christian Revival Crusade, Baptist, Churches of Christ, Christian Reformed, Salvation Army, CityLife Church.
These denominations/movements account for some 95% of the estimated weekly church attenders in Australia.

(NB: These estimates do not include Orthodox, independent churches or other movements that do not have available estimates of church attendance)

Authors

Ruth Powell, Sam Sterland, Miriam Pepper and Nicole Hancock.

Data Sources

Data is from the 2016 National Church Life Survey (NCLS) by NCLS Research.

Citation

Powell, R. Sterland, S. Pepper, M. and Hancock, N. (2017). Comparing Australian Church Attenders by Church Background. Research Profile 1707. Sydney: NCLS Research.

Copyright

© Copyright NCLS Research. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to researchers to reproduce data and images from this profile, provided these do not exceed 10% of the contents of the profile.