Parish Spotlights

What can the data tell you about your parish? 

(Updated for 2014)

The Church of England research and statistics team have produced information about parishes, both in terms of congregations, and also the wider community living in the area.  It covers areas such as Christian affiliation, population, age and ethnicity profiles, household structures, deprivation, employment, schools and qualifications, alongside church statistics such as attendance and giving. How can you use this? The spotlight is a starting place for you to explore further.  You may want to discuss it at a PCC meeting or with leadership teams. Email if you have any queries.

Further explanatory notes (scrolls down)

Spotlights by parish:

 * Non-centroid spotlight (see below for explanation)

Explanation Notes (from Church of England Statistics unit)

Attendance and Finance data

Attendance and Finance data have been compiled from annual parochial returns.  As you will be aware we do not get a 100% response rate each year and the data in this spotlight do not contain any estimates.  The Spotlights are at the parish level, so where there are statistics for multiple churches in a parish, these have been amalgamated.  Where there have been pastoral reorganisations the data may show jumps in figures, or gaps in the data.   To help you to understand any particular parish results we have included in the CD an excel version of the data, with details of the churches included in the returns.  You will also be aware that in recent months we have undergone some intense cleaning of the data, so figures may differ to those previously issued.

Parish structures

These spotlights have been compiled using our best knowledge of the geographic make-up of the country.  Your diocese may well have churches that work outside the parish system, or work in different geographies such as conventional districts or guild churches.  These churches may not appear in the list of pdfs, however the population data for the geographic parish overlaying the area will be of relevance.  If there are specific areas for which you would like a community focused spotlight, without annual parochial returns data, or with annual parochial returns data for different churches then please do contact us with further details about these areas.  These structures are accurate as at March 2013, however the annual parochial returns data are accurate as of 2011, so in areas of considerable pastoral reorganisation there may be mismatches between the geography and the churches for which the annual parochial returns data refer.  Once again, please do contact us if there are any specific areas for which you would like us to produce a revised spotlight. 

“Centroid” and “non centroid” spotlights

The community data is based on various government sources, including the 2011 census.  Government boundaries do not match our ecclesiastical parish boundaries so best fit modelling is required.  The method we have used is to take the smallest geography for which population data are released (called an Output Area), represent that area with a single dot (placed in the middle of where the people live in that area, called a “Centroid”), and then allocate that population to the parish within which the dot falls.  This gives the parish its population count and is a standard best-fit modelling technique (see the “centroid Spotlights” folder).  It does mean, however, that for some parishes no dot falls into the boundary, so we are not able to allocate a population count (see the “non-centroid Spotlights” folder).  For these parishes we have given some broad percentages to reflect the population instead.  On the CD, these two different types of Spotlight have been separated for your information.

Church Statistics only spotlights

There are a number of parishes where we have annual parochial returns data, but we cannot allocate this to a geography on the ground (and therefore community data).  This could be due to pastoral reorganisation, or churches that work outside the parish system. We have included these as a series of Spotlights with very limited data for your information.  You may wish to distribute these with the relevant geographic areas.

Excel files

Excel files of the community focussed data are available on the C of E website.

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