In a recent survey, Advanis finds that religious attendance in Canada has experienced a drop due to the pandemic—and some of it reflects a permanent loss. However, for Canadians affiliated with a religion or faith, having the option to worship online has been key to maintaining attendance.
According to Statistics Canada, 68% of Canadians aged 15+ have a religious affiliation—an indicator that has started to trend down, aligning Canada more with the United States, where the no-religion “nones” have been increasing in share in the past years, and church membership is now below 50%.
The pandemic brought a new reality, where worshipers could not convene in their houses of worship, having to move online. Building on an understanding that online attendance is the new normal, Advanis has found that:
- During the pandemic, house of worship attendance declined (the proportion of Canadians who never attend a house of worship has increased by 7%pts—from 58% to 65%, and weekly attendance has dropped by 4%pts—from 18% to 14%). Overall attendance has dropped more substantially for Christian Canadians compared to believers of other religions and faiths.
- 1 in 3 Canadians with a religious affiliation have attended a religious service online since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Among those who currently attend their house of worship at least monthly, 1 in 4 continue to attend primarily online.
- Among those who stopped attending their house of worship during the pandemic, just over half indicate that they will be likely to return to attending after the pandemic.
These results, like other self-sponsored studies that Advanis makes available to government and not-for-profits, are available here on the Tell City Hall website.
Take a closer look at the report “Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on religious attendance” to learn more about:
- How often Canadians attended church / house of worship prior to the COVID-19 pandemic vs. now
- How frequency of attendance maps onto current attendance (who attends more, as often, less, or stopped attending altogether)
- How attendance compares between Canadians of Christian and other faiths
- Trends in changes to how often Canadians from different provinces attend their house of worship
- Differences in Christian denominations’ (Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox) uptake of online religious services
- How Canadians compare by age and gender in attending religious services online
MORE ABOUT THE SURVEY
Building on the extensive research Advanis conducted throughout the pandemic via our COVID-19 Tracker survey, we have continued asking Canadians questions on various topics since March 2022 in our new Omnibus survey offered through our Tell City Hall brand.
If you are a public sector organization interested in learning more about these results—or asking your own questions on the Tell City Hall Omnibus survey—please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.