Catholics in England and Wales
Measuring the Catholic Population (1912-2014)
- Catholics in England and Wales (1912-2014)
- Weekly mass attendance has fallen by nearly a third (30.7%) between 1993 and 2010, as compared to corresponding falls of 10.9% in the Catholic population and 9.4% in the number of priests over the same period.
- In the 50 years between 1912 and 1962, the Catholic Population more than doubled in size. It continued to rise up to 1993, when it peaked at 4.53 million.
- Over the same 50 year period, the number of priests also nearly doubled in size, peaking at 7,887 in 1965. The number of priests has fallen each year since 2002. The 2011 total of 5,264 represents the lowest total since 1937.
Mouse over each point for the corresponding value for each year shown.
Weekly Mass Attendance in England and Wales
(Values in Millions)
Catholic Population in England and Wales
(Values in Millions)
Catholic Priests in England and Wales (1912-2011)
Catholic Ordinations in England and Wales (1912-2011)
Catholic Parish Churches (1912-2010)
Catholic Marriages as a % of all Marriages (1913-2010)
The Benedict XVI centre published additional statistics for Catholics in England and Wales. Data is based on the British Social Attitudes Surveys for the years 2012-2014.
Catholics as a percentage of the adult population in England and Wales:
Frequency of church attendance by Catholics in England and Wales
Once a week or more (27.5%)
At least once a month (15.6%)
At least once a year (17.8%)
Never or practically never (39.2%)
- 3.8 million persons identify as Catholics in England and Wales (8.3% of the adult population) and 6.2 million were raised Catholic (13.7%). Put another way, the retention rate of Cradle Catholics was 55.8% (the highest among Christian denominations)** . However the church also had the lowest conversion rate at 7.7%.
- The Catholic percentage of the total population has remained fairly stable over the last 30 years or so. By way of contrast, the Anglican percentage has declined from 44.5% in 1983 to 19.0% in 2014.
- 59.1% of adult Catholics are women, roughly in line with the percentage of female Christians as a whole (58.6%). 25% of weekly Mass attendees are women in the over 65 age group.
- Combining male and female numbers, 46.7% (nearly half) of all weekly or more Mass attendees are over 65.
- 17.1% of Cradle Catholics attend Mass once week or more but 59.6% attend "never or practically never".
- 44.4% of those who identify as Catholic are aged 18 to 44, compared
to 32.6% of Christians in general.
** Comparitive figures for other Christian denominations are:
- Cradle Anglicans: 51.7%
- Cradle Methodists: 33.7%
- Cradle Baptists: 28.9%
Percentage of Catholics who attend Mass weekly or more - by age group
Catholics as a percentage of the population - by region
- East Midlands: 4.8%
- West Midlands: 6.8%
- East of England: 5.9%
- Yorkshire/Humberside: 6.4%
- North East: 9.3%
Report Summary (PDF).
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