Census data gives insights to Parish communities

More than 1200 parishes across Australia have been profiled in new research, giving Catholics a unique insight into their local communities and how they can better serve their local area.

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The parish profiles, published by the National Centre for Pastoral Research, draws on data captured in the 2021 Australian Census and examines the Catholic and broader population within each parish boundary.

“It will be a valuable tool to help parishes understand their local communities,” said Gabrielle McMullen, chair of the Australian Catholic Council for Pastoral Research.

“It is important that parish leaders have the latest information, so they can assess the pastoral needs of people and then plan the best way to meet those needs.”

The reports provide statistics on age, sex, country of birth, the language people speak at home, the makeup of their families and households, their income levels, occupation, and employment status. This data is also compared with previous census data to show the changes occurring within parish areas.

The researchers said the data could be used to better minister to the people within each parish and understand how each parish can use its unique identity to bring the Gospel to more people.

“Each parish should have three things – its own vision or aspiration, an understanding of what sort of people make up its local Catholic and general community, and an awareness of the resources and gifts available to the parish to realise the vision,” Rockhampton Bishop Michael McCarthy, the Bishop Delegate for Pastoral Research.

“The social profiles provided in these reports will empower parishes using pastoral planning to move into the future with hope and confidence, ready to do the work of Jesus Christ as the people of God on mission.”

2021 Parish Social Profiles are available to view here.