Thinking Anglicans

British Religion in Numbers

Updated Wednesday

There is a new online religious data resource: British Religion in Numbers [BRIN]. This is how BRIN introduces itself.

British Religion in Numbers is an online religious data resource.

Numbers aren’t just for statisticians. People want to visualise and understand data for work, for study, for general interest, or to settle a debate. Many debates over religion rest on questions of how large? how many? how typical?

Religious data sources tend to be difficult to find, or need a good deal of interpretation. For example, is Britain 72% Christian, as the 2001 Census reported, or 50% Christian, as found by the 2008 British Social Attitudes survey?

We want to draw religious data sources together, explain how data can be used, and present some examples intuitively to a wide audience.

BRIN is based at the University of Manchester and supported by the Religion and Society research programme.

This is how the Religion and Society research programme describes BRIN.

A great leap forward in accessing facts and figures on religion in Britain has been made possible by a project funded by the Religion and Society Programme. Leading scholars David Voas and Clive Field with a team based at the University of Manchester this month [April 2010] launched a new free-to-use website which will be of immense value to academic researchers as well as to government, private enterprises, journalists, and anyone wanting authoritative and up-to-date data on British religion. British Religion in Numbers [BRIN] catalogues published data on religion in Britain covering a period of 4 centuries, and draws already from over 1700 sources. It breaks new ground in including opinion poll data and is comprehensively searchable.

Ruth Gledhill has written about BRIN in the Times: Faith by numbers: Fantastic new religious research tool launched.

Siobhan McAndrew, project officer for British Religion in Numbers, has written this for The Guardian: Making religion count. Is religion too complex to quantify? Aspects of it may be, but there are mountains of data out there which we shouldn’t ignore.

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