Research and insight

All too often, a focus on data and statistics tips the Church into endless conversations about scarcity and spirals of decline instead of leading to a focus on Christ and on the good news. But data and statistics do give us an indication of what is happening in our wider society and also what is happening in the life of the Church in this season. 

Historically we’ve collected lots of data. We’re now working on embedding a culture of joining up data from different sources and using that to inform our day-to-day work and strategic decision making. Our hope is that by linking data between different sources, we can provide richer datasets while also reducing the burden of collection on parishes.  

We know that the overall picture of Church recovery post-pandemic is still quite fragile, and recovery is taking longer than anticipated. This section of the website is offered as a way of better understanding some of what’s working (and what’s not) to assist local decision making. You can explore this section of the site using the left-hand navigation (tap here on your mobile).

New and upcoming publications

June 2024
Parish Dashboards

You submit data every year, through your Statistics for Mission and Returns of Parish Finance. This, alongside information from the 2021 UK Census, can start to paint a picture of what's happening in our parishes. Parish dashboards bring all of that information together in an easy-to-use format. What does yours say?

5 February 2024
Responding to anecdotal evidence of an increase in attendance

Anecdotally, several people have commented on seeing an increase in numbers of people attending their special Christmas services in December 2023. Is this increase seen in our Statistics for Mission (SfM) figures for Oxford Diocese and if so, how should we interpret this?

9 January 2024
Analysis of the October 2023 church attendance figures

Church attendance can't tell the whole story, but the numbers can tell us quite a lot. With figures from October 2023 showing a strong return to 84% of the 2019 attendance level - a further increase on the 81% seen in 2022 - what does this mean for the year ahead, and how can churches continue to build on this momentum?

Previous publications

Data sources we use

Data sources – national Church

Finance returns

Parish finance statistics are collected annually across all parishes in the Church of England. This information is generally collected via the Online Parish Returns System. Finance Statistics 2020 collected the most recent financial information, including income (both unrestricted and restricted, from giving, gift aid, hall rentals etc.), expenditure (staff, utilities, parish share etc) and giving. 

Statistics for Mission

The annual Statistics for Mission return measures several different aspects of church life. It seeks to provide a broad picture of those key elements that are common to most churches. This information is generally entered on to the Online Parish Returns System (click here for help and advice if entering information for your parish).

Energy Footprint Tool

Energy data are collected annually from all church buildings within the Church of England via the Energy Footprint Tool and Energy Toolkit, which can be found on the  Online Parish Returns System. Information is collected for all Church of England buildings (churches, schools, housing, cathedrals, offices, etc.).

Diocesan data sources

Articles of Enquiry

Collected through the national online parish return system, the Archdeacons' Articles of Enquiry are asked at the discretion of the diocese.

Other data sources

Note that the following is for information only, these data sets are not published.

  • CaseList – Excel list of DAC Cases;
  • ChurchList – Excel list of churches with some DAC relevant information (incomplete) Including: District/UA, Area, Grade, Evidence of Bats, Churchyard status;
  • Historic Data – Excel list of 12,300 past DAC cases going back to 1994;
  • Quinquennial Inspections – Church, Inspector, Date inspected;
  • – the Church equivalent of Planning Portal. Contains data for all faculties since 1 April 2020, used to track faculty documents;
  • A Heritage Record contains: Address, Listing (and link to Historic England), Conservation Area, Date, OS Grid Reference, Local Authority, Building size, Architects, Renewables, Interior, Churchyard, Significance;
  • Property – data about the c. 1,000 properties the diocese owns (and +238 properties the diocese used to own);
  • Finance Exchequer – 20 years of past data including Management and Statutory Accounts Suppliers, Customers, Salaries, General Ledger Records of Payment of Parish Share by Parish.
Other data sets
  • National census;
  • Detailed parish deprivation statistics based on the 2019 English indices of deprivation produced by ONS and modelled onto our ecclesiastical boundaries by the national research and statistics team;
  • Fundraising information from suppliers of digital giving devices on numbers licenced and money raised;
  • Information from Parish Buying – for example, suppliers of carbon efficient fuel through parish buying.  


In this section...

Parish Dashboards

Everything you need to know about your parish in one place.

Statistics for mission

Our annual look at different aspects of church life.

Census 2021

A look at the latest Census data based on ecclesiastical deanery boundaries.

Data sets and reports

Information and insight from one-off or irregular data collection.



Page last updated: Tuesday 28th May 2024 6:12 PM
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