Remaining religion in England

Tony Glendinning, Steve Bruce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study asks to what extent religion remains a part of people’s lives in England. We begin by setting that question in historical and contemporary social context. We also set the question in comparative global context by analyzing the extent and significance of religion among differing societies, including that in Thailand, using data from the World Values Survey (WVS). In the English case, we conduct more detailed analysis using data from the national Time Use Survey. The TUS provides a sample of thousands of diarists who kept personal records of their activities over a 24-hour period on two randomly selected days during one week of the year. We can obtain a picture of English people’s religious activities on any typical day by combining different diarists’ records. Personal diary records of religious activities, such as in the TUS, appear more valid and reliable than interviewer-based, closed-question survey methods, such as in the WVS. The Christian churches’ own census figures for attendees agree with our TUS diary based estimate of the proportion of the adult population who attend religious services on a Sunday in England, while estimates provided by closed-question, interview-based survey methods were 50 per cent greater than personal, diary based estimates. Our key substantive findings are that Sunday church attendance is well below one-in-ten of the adult population in England but that few people participate in other forms of religious activity in its place, alone or in company, Christian or otherwise, at any point during the week. Our study demonstrates low levels of religion in England with data and methods not used previously.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-20
Number of pages12
JournalRangsit Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • religious activity diary and inteview-based surveys England
  • religious activity
  • church attendance
  • diary and interview-based surveys
  • England


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