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English Church Census, 1989




Brierley, P. W. (2020, October 11). English Church Census, 1989.


The English Church Census, 1989 was carried out on October 15th, 1989 by MARC Europe (this research body ceased to exist and Christian Research was formed out of it). The main aim of the survey was to get details of church attendance in England by denomination, churchmanship, county and environment. Comparable studies have been conducted in 1979, 1998, and 2005.

The ARDA has added two additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 26419
Variables: 42
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection

October 15, 1989

Original Survey (Instrument)

English Church Census

Funded By

World Vision of Britain
Evangelical Alliance
MARC Europe

Collection Procedures

Mail-based surveys

Sampling Procedures

A list was produced by MARC Europe of all Christian churches in England which totaled 38,607. These included Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches but not other (non-trinitarian) groups such as Jehovah's Witness. In total 26,424 churches completed the census form, a response rate of 70 per cent.

The census set out to measure congregations not churches themselves. For the purposes of the survey a congregation was defined as a group comprising generally the same body of people, meeting at monthly intervals at least, for public Christian worship on a Sunday, and using the same premises week by week.

Principal Investigators

Brierley, P.W.
MARC Europe

Note 1: Region and Denomination Codes

For additional information on interpreting region and denomination codes including congregations associated with multiple denominations, see PDF documentation.

Note 2: Churchmanship Variables

Church denominations, such as Church of England, Baptist etc., are not acceptable and are treated as a null response. Those who enter other and specify terms that are not listed are reclassified into the existing boxes as follows:

Pentecostal classified as Charismatic
Bible based classified as Evangelical
Calvinist/Salvation Army classified as Evangelical
Middle of the Road classified as Broad
Mixed classified as Broad
Average classified as Broad

Where two boxes have been ticked in addition to the other box, the latter is ignored unless any of the above has been specified. Ecumenical does not qualify here although it has been useful in identification and collation of ecumenical churches. Where more than three boxes are ticked a choice is made on the basis of an agreed formula. A major principle is to look for words and expressions used in the 'other' that match those in the choice of boxes provided.

Note 3: Year Founded

Where two dates are given, the earlier date is preferred, Where events are supplied rather than dates, below are the agreed corresponding dates used in the analysis:
Roman Britain 200
Dark Ages 450
Anglo-Saxon 850
Norman Conquest 1066
Domesday Book 1087
Medieval/Middle Ages/Norman 1100
Magna Carta 1215
Gothic 1300
Tudor 1500
Renaissance 1550
Stuart 1650
Regency/Georgian 1720
Victorian 1875

Note 4: Third World Community Aid

Where other kinds of aid to the Third World and charities are specified, they have been allocated to the existing boxes as follows:

1 Types of activity- Development work, Christian Aid, CAFOD, CWM, Save the Children Fund, Help the Aged, Leprosy Mission, Oxfam, on-going relief and development work
2 Specific areas- Immediate Relief, Disasters , Emergencies
3 Traidcraft [sic]
4 Sponsored Missionaries
5 Named church, Tear Fund
6 Home missions, Baptist Missionary Society, USPG, CMS, Methodist Overseas Mission, Bible society, SAMS, Evangelism

Again here, the emphasis Is on identifying terms that are similar to the options provided within the questions.

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