Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 7, 2003
Attendance drops in church
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
There are pockets of high religious attendance in almost every province even though the number of Canadians who attended religious services at least once a month dropped by five per cent in less than a decade.
"Pockets of belief: Religious attendance patterns in Canada," a new report by Statistics Canada, also shows that Quebec's monthly religious attendance declined the most during the 1990s.
Unlike the rest of the country, Toronto and Vancouver had small increases in religious attendance rates while British Columbia, at two per cent, was the only province to show an increase, said the report in the Spring 2003 issue of the Statistics Canada periodical, Canadian Social Trends, released March 18.
"Many factors influence the level of religious attendance, including demographics, immigration patterns and the cultural history of a region," said the report by Warren Clark, a senior analyst with Canadian Social Trends.
"Religious attendance is strongly related to age," he wrote.
"Seniors have the highest attendance rates, while those aged 25 to 34 have the lowest. Therefore, one might expect the highest attendance rates would occur in areas with higher percentages of seniors."
The age factor holds true from some areas of the country but the report notes there are also areas with high percentages of seniors but not high religious attendance.
In 1946, about 67 per cent of the adult population of Canada attended religious services on a weekly basis, but by 2001 it had slipped to 20 per cent, the report stated.
It also noted that weekly attendance rates in the United States fell to 25 per cent in 2000 from 32 per cent in 1986.
The report was based on Statistics Canada's General Social Survey, conducted almost every year since 1985.