England’s Less Than Half Population is Christian

More than half of the population of England and Wales does not identify as Christian, making it the first time ever. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) shared results from a 10-year survey carried out in 2021 which showed that only 46.2 percent in England and Wales described themselves as Christian.

Even with the rapid growth of the Muslim population in England and Wales, the option of ‘no religion’ was chosen by most people after Christianity. The survey showed around 46.2 percent or 27.5 million people in England and Wales described themselves as Christian, which is down 13.1 percentage points compared to 2011. On the other hand, 37.2 percent or 22.2 million people chose ‘no religion’ which rose by 12 points. Muslims stood at 6.5 percent of the population or 3.9 million which is up from 4.9 percent.

Hindu and Sikh people were next on the list with a population of 1 million and 524,000 respectively. There were 273,000 Buddhists while the Jewish population was at 271,000.

People from England and Wales who identify as white have also gone down by around 500,000 since 2011 which is 86.0 percent to 81.7 percent. The second most common ethnicity was “Asian, Asian British or Asian Welsh” at 9.3 percent, up from 7.5 percent in 2011.

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Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell spoke about the declining Christianity in England and Wales and said it was no surprise given an increasingly secular age. However, people still need spiritual sustenance and Cottrell said the people of faith will be there to help anyone who needs it. “We will be there for them, in many cases, providing food and warmth. And at Christmas millions of people will still come to our services.”

He added, “At the same time, we will be looking beyond our immediate surroundings, remembering we are part of a global faith, the largest movement on Earth and its greatest hope for a peaceful, sustainable future.”

The church population has been declining and some of the churches have even been repurposed. The Telegraph newspaper analyzed the Church of England data and found that 423 churches closed between 2010 and 2019.

Vineet Washington

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