Christianity plunges in the UK as census shows less than half follow national religion

The census data shows that the UK is becoming increasingly diverse both in terms of religion and ethnicity.

A detailed England and Wales census shows that fewer people than ever identify with the UK’s national religion. Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from the 2021 census shows that less than half of the British population is now Christian. Only 46.2 percent of Britons described themselves as Christian on the day of the census last year, marking a significant decline on the previous decade.

When the census was delivered in 2011, just over half – 59.3 percent – said they identified as a Christian.

The new data marks a 13 percent decline, while the number of followers of other religions increased.

Approximately 6.5 percent of people described themselves as Muslim, while 1.7 percent said they were Hindu.

The number of Christians still exceeds those without an identified religion, the census found.

Roughly 37.2 percent of the UK’s population described themselves as non-religious following the latest survey.

But the proportion rose almost as significantly as Christians declined, as only 25.2 percent of Britons said they had no religion in 2011.

As the UK’s religious populations changed, so has the country’s ethnic makeup.

The ONS found that England and Wales are becoming increasingly ethnically diverse, especially in London.

While white people remain the most common ethnicity, the number of people identifying as such has fallen by roughly 500,000 on the last decade.

In 2011, 86 percent of British residents identified as white, with the 2021 census revealing a nearly five percent drop to 81.7 percent.

The British and Welsh Asian population is the second largest, with 9.3 percent of Britons identifying as “Asian, Asian British or Asian Welsh”.

The figure is an increase of 1.8 percent on the 7.5 percent in 2011.

London is the most ethnically diverse part of the country, the report adds.

Of the city’s approximately 9 million-strong population, two-thirds hail from an ethnic minority population.

Most Londoners identify as being from an ethnicity other than “white British”, the census found.

Regardless of their ethnic identity, more than 90 percent of people now identify as British, it adds.

Census coordinators have hailed the results as showing the UK is becoming an “increasingly multi-cultural society”.

Jon Wroth-Smith, the Census deputy director, said the ethnicity results depend on where people live.

He said: “The picture varies depending on where you live. London remains the most ethnically diverse region of England, where just under two-thirds identify with an ethnic minority group, whereas under 1 in 10 identify this way in the North East.

“But despite the ethnically diverse nature of society, 9 in 10 people across England and Wales still identify with a UK national identity, with nearly 8 in 10 doing so in London.”


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