2021 Catholic Social Profiles

The National Centre for Pastoral Research analyses Census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and produces national, diocesan and parish-level reports on the Catholic population as part of the National Catholic Census Project. The 2021 National, Diocesan and Parish Social Profiles are now available.

Synod on Synodality

In March 2020, Pope Francis announced that the theme for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops as “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”. The entire Church was invited to reflect on this theme that is decisive for its life and mission. The National Centre for Pastoral Research was invited by the Australian Bishops Conference to coordinate the consultation process for the Synod within Australia.

2021 National Count of Attendance

The 5th National Count of Attendance at Mass and Sunday Assemblies was conducted in all parishes and other Mass centres throughout Australia in May 2021. All Catholic dioceses and parishes were urged to take part.

Research Projects

The National Centre for Pastoral Research Office undertakes and coordinates a vast range of research projects of importance to Australia’s Catholics. The NCPR makes the results available to parishes, dioceses and the Catholic community in general, and assists in understanding the results.


The National Centre for Pastoral Research produces a quarterly, free newsletter about social research relating to the Catholic Church in Australia, available by email or by download from this website.

The National Centre for Pastoral Research (formerly Pastoral Research Office) is an agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.


The National Centre for Pastoral Research has ongoing responsibility for:

  • Carrying out the National Catholic Census Project (1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016 and 2021), including the dissemination of results to parishes and dioceses.
  • Carrying out and reporting the results of the National Count of Attendance (2001, 2006, 2011, 2016 and 2021).
  • Catholic participation in the National Church Life Surveys (2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016).
  • Providing assistance to dioceses, Catholic Education Offices and other Catholic agencies in the understanding and use of NCLS and Census data.
  • Providing research and pastoral planning consultancy services to dioceses and Catholic agencies.


We also undertake topical projects from time to time. These include:

  • Synod on Synodality (ongoing)
  • A Profile of Catholic Clergy (2024)
  • Evaluating the Implementation of “Woman and Man: The Bishops Respond” (Social Justice Sunday Statement 2000) (2024 – 2025)
  • Absent From the Table: Australian Catholics who do not regularly attend Sunday Mass (2024 – 2025)
  • Plenary Council 2020
  • Pedagogy Development: Building on Positive Learnings from COVID-19 (2021 – 2022)
  • Review of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (2020)
  • Professional Development for Bishops Survey (2020)
  • Church Governance Survey (2019)
  • Survey of Religious Congregations in Australia 2018 (2018-2019)
  • Understanding Religious Vocation in Australia Today (2014 – 2018)
  • Our Work Matters: Catholic Church employers and employees in Australia (2015 – 2017)
  • ‘Building Stronger Parishes’ (2009 – 2015)

Click here for our complete list of projects