More Australians are now likely to regularly attend their place of worship compared to just prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to market researcher Roy Morgan.
The biggest increases come from millennials, with over 21 percent now reporting that they “regularly go to church or my place of worship,” up from 5.8 percent before the pandemic.
“Millennials are now second only to Pre-Boomers (people aged over 75) for their regular attendance at church or a place of worship,” Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said. “For many millennials, the pandemic has meant extended periods of working from home at the same time as taking care of primary school-aged children engaged in remote learning. This has clearly been a very challenging period for many young parents.”
In contrast to millennials, the elderly aged over 75 reported a decline in regular church attendance, the only generation to reportedly do so.
Furthermore, there is now little difference between the number of men and women who regularly attend church, at 19 percent and 19.1 percent, respectively. Women saw a greater increase, up 4.1 percentage points during the pandemic, compared to men, up 1.2 percentage points.
Roy Morgan also found a significant difference in the church attendance changes between capital cities and regional areas.
Attendance at church and places of worship remain unchanged in country areas (15.5 percent). But it increased by 4 percent in capital cities to 21 percent, where the majority of extended lockdowns have occurred.
The states of New South Wales, Western Australia, and Tasmania saw the biggest increase, with Victoria the only state where regular attendance has decreased.
“Although lockdowns have driven attendance in other states and capital cities, the extent of the lockdowns in Victoria, and especially the long second lockdown in late 2020, have prevented the rise in attendance seen elsewhere,” Levine said.
Catholic Church spokesman for the Archdiocese of the Sydney, Michael Kenny, told The Epoch Times that while their churches were closed during the extended lockdown, they have seen very large numbers of people watching live-streamed masses.
“Last Sunday, approximately 6,100 people watched the 10:30 a.m. mass, live-streamed from Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral. The cathedral has a capacity of 1,200 people, so this may give you a sense of the higher numbers engaging with worship during the COVID-19 lockdown,” Kenny said.
Levine said it would be interesting to see whether the attendance trends continue to increase or return to their previous levels.
The data is from Roy Morgan’s Single Source, an ongoing research program into consumer behaviour and attitudes that is conducted year-round, with interviews from over 50,000 people a year.