Religious Sector


The religious sector encompasses various aspects related to religion, including places of worship, spiritual sites, religious institutions, and organisations such as religious schools and charities. The map representing available data on the religious sector in the South West region highlights places of worship for Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Sikhism. Due to the availability of data, religious provision for Buddhism and Judaism were not able to be mapped. In terms of religious provision in the South West region, there is a lack of religious facilities for Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus, particularly in rural areas. Urban centers like Exeter, Bristol, and Gloucester have more diverse cultural communities and consequently more religious provision. However, Christian provision is widespread throughout the region, with numerous registered institutions catering to Christians.

What is the Religious Sector?

The religious sector, for the purposes of this mapping exercise, includes the locations of places of worship, areas of spiritual significance and religious institutions and organizations such as religious schools and charity organizations.

The religions chosen to be mapped were reflective of the citizenships from which the majority of individuals using Certificates of Sponsorship were from in 2022: India (33%), Zimbabwe (16%), Nigeria (15%) and the Philippines (11%). Applying this research to the mapping exercise, the religious infrastructure to be mapped is in line with the results of the analysis and will focus on the religions identified where data is available.

Why Is The Religious Sector Considered To Be Important for Overseas Workers?

Why Is The Religious Sector Considered To Be Important for Refugees?

Religion can be an important aspect of the lives of those recruited in the International Recruitment Program, as it provides a sense of identity, community, and comfort during their integration into wider society and beyond. In some cases, religion may act as a catalyst for the settlement of individuals and families through the International Recruitment Program where renewed connection to their cultural and spiritual roots provides a sense of continuity and stability. Religious communities can also offer practical assistance, emotional support, and a sense of belonging in the early stages of integration and employment.

How Does The Map Represent Available Data On The Religious Sector In The South West?

The map demonstrates the places of worship in the region for the four main religions demonstrated in the research: Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism. Each has been designated its own symbol and as much information relevant to decision-making for those utilizing the maps has been given; information varies between the four religions due to both availability and religious/cultural pertinence.

The mapping exercise did not include demographic mapping as this is available through the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in its census mapping. Demographic mapping of religion is available here:

What Are The Trends And Patterns In Religious Provision In The South West Region?

The South West suffers from a lack of religious provision for those who identify as either Muslim, Sikh or Hindu. Where there is provision, it is exclusively found within urban centers, most predominantly in areas such as Exeter, Bristol and Gloucester. This is unsurprising considering the higher degree of cultural and community-based diversity that exists; hence, the percentage of those who identify as Muslim, Sikh or Hindu is far higher in comparison to rural areas. For example, 6.7% of people in Bristol City identify as Muslim, as opposed to 0.4% in North Devon.

Provision for those who identify as Christian is extremely high. Provision of a Christian nature can be found ubiquitously throughout the South West region with over three thousand institutions registered to perform services such as marriage. This fact is unsurprising when ONS Census 2021 data demonstrates that between 40% and 50% of the populations in each Local Authority throughout the South West region is Christian.

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