2021 Census finds less than half England and Wales is Christian

Census data

Newly released 2021 Census results show under half the population of England and Wales describe themselves as “Christian”.

Other parts of the UK – Scotland and Northern Ireland – report their census results separately.

This is the first time the official religion of England and Wales – Christianity – has been followed by a minority population.

By contrast to the declining Christian population, the Muslim population has shown a ‘rapid’ rise.

According to the data, the Muslim population in the UK stands at 3.9 million. It grew from 4.9 percent to 6.5 percent during the last decade.

The Hindu population is also sizeable.

The census data shows there are a million Hindus, more Buddhists than Jews and – as noted – 13.1 percent fewer Christians than in 2011.

One in every three people said that they had ‘no religion’.

The statistics show the past decade has wrought significant changes in religious affiliation in England and Wales.

While 46.2 percent of the population described themselves as Christian on the day of the 2021 census, 59.3 percent described themselves as Christian a decade earlier.

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said the figures were “not a great surprise”.

This development “still throws down a challenge to us not only to trust that God will build his kingdom on Earth but also play our part in making Christ known,” he added.

“We have left behind the era when many people almost automatically identified as Christian but other surveys show how the same people still seek spiritual truth and wisdom and a set of values to live by.”

Secularism campaigners said the shift should trigger a rethink of the way religion is entrenched in British society.

The UK has state-funded Church of England schools, Anglican bishops sit in Parliament’s upper chamber and the monarch is “defender of the faith” and supreme governor of the Church of England.

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the charity Humanists UK, said “the dramatic growth of the non-religious” had made the UK “almost certainly one of the least religious countries on Earth.”


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