To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, with reference to the Church of England Report, Released for mission, growing the rural church, published in 2015, which identifies that 17.6 per cent of the English population live in rural areas and 40 per cent of churchgoers attend parishes in rural areas, and with reference to the Parish Finance Statistics 2020 which shows £471 million of parish giving for the whole of the Church of England in 2020, what proportion of that parish giving came from rural parishes.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
5 August 2022
A revised analysis based on ONS rural/urban land-use classifications and the latest (2019) mid-year population updates, gives a slightly different set of parishes classified as rural, totalling 24% of the English population. Analysis of church attendance has been complicated in recent years because of the effects of COVID and restrictions on in-person worship, but it is estimated that 37% of attendance is in these parishes. Analysis of the £471million giving reported in 2020 Parish Finance Statistics indicates that 44% came from these parishes in rural areas. Rural areas tend to be wealthier on average; of the population living in the most deprived 10% of parishes, 5% live in these rural areas, and 95% in urban areas.