Catholic Social Profiles

The Pastoral Research Office analyses census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and produces national, diocesan and parish level reports on the Catholic population. View Social Profiles here.

Research Projects

The Pastoral Research Office undertakes and coordinates a vast range of research projects of importance to Australia’s Catholics. These include the National Church Life Survey; the National Catholic Census Project; the National Count of Attendance; the Building Stronger Parishes Project, and many more. The PRO makes the results available to parishes, dioceses and the Catholic community in general, and assists in understanding the results. Research Project Information here.


The Pastoral Research Office produces a monthly, free newsletter about social research relating to the Catholic  Church in Australia, available by email or by download from this website. Download it here.

ACBC Conference

Our Conference and Parish Workshop Day held in 2014 explored issues that matter to all Australian Catholics. We presented the research results from the previous 5 years, and looked beyond the data to consider what it all means and how we as a Church need to respond. Conference details here.

The Pastoral Research Office is an agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

The Pastoral Research Office has ongoing responsibility for:

  • Coordinating Catholic participation in the National Church Life Surveys (2001, 2006 and 2011).
  • Carrying out the National Catholic Census Project (1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011), including the dissemination of results to parishes and dioceses.
  • Carrying out and reporting the results of the National Count of Attendance (2001, 2006 and 2011).
  • 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 additional projects from time to time. At present, these additional projects include

  • ‘Building Stronger Parishes’ (currently in operation)
  • Australian Catholic Mapping Online (currently in operation in association with Catholic Education Office, Melbourne)
  • ‘Catholics Who Have Ceased Attending Mass’ (2007)

The Office was established in 1996. Until 2003, it was located in Clayton, Victoria, on the premises of Corpus Christi College, the seminary for the dioceses of Victoria and Tasmania. It moved to the Fitzroy (Melbourne) campus of Australian Catholic University in February 2004.