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Scottish church attendance 'halved over last 30 years'

Less than 400,000 people went to church last year, according to a new report.

Survey: Number of church-goers plunges (file pic).
Survey: Number of church-goers plunges (file pic). PA

The number of people attending church in Scotland has more than halved in the last 30 years, according to a new report.

Less than 400,000 people regularly went to church last year, compared to more than 850,000 in 1984.

Attendance is expected to fall by almost 100,000 by 2025, according to the Scottish Church Census.

The decline has been less drastic than previously estimated, however, partly as a result of migration.

"The result of the 2016 Scottish Church Census will be disappointing for most church leaders," report Dr Peter Brierley noted.

https://stv.tv/news/scotland/1327477-almost-half-of-scots-not-religious-according-to-scottish-household-survey/ | default

"But a forecast based on the results of the 2002 Census would give an estimate of 350,000 by 2016.

"So the actual result is better than expected - 11% higher - partly as a result of the numbers of immigrants coming into Scotland and the growth of the Pentecostal churches."

The only place where church attendance has risen is Aberdeenshire, where 350 more people went in 2016 than in 2002.

Brierley attributed the rise to Polish Catholic migration, with 25 of Scotland's 27 Polish churches in the area.

The survey also showed that about 42% of church-goers in Scotland are aged 65 or over, with the decline most keenly felt among under-45s.

About 40% of Scotland's 3689 congregations participated in the census.

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