For the first time, Christians have become a minority in England and Wales for the first time in history, according to new census data revealed recently.
According to The Office for National Statistics(ONS), 46.2 per cent of the population (27.5 million people) described themselves as ‘Christian’ in 2021, marking a 13.1 percentage point decrease from 59.3 per cent (33.3 million people) in 2011. Muslims have risen from 4.9% (2011) to 6.5% (2021).
Furthermore, the Jewish population rose from 265,000 to 271,000 (both at 0.5 per cent), and the number of Hindus increased from 1.5 per cent to 1.7 pre cent (818,000 to 1 million).
Despite the United Kingdom is still legally Christian, with the state Church of England holding a privileged status, downfall of the religion is being attributed to the increase of 12% of people who identify with “no religion”, from 25.2% (2011) to 37.2% (2021).
Inspite of the drastic demography change, Christianity is still the largest in England and Wales, followed by Muslims on 6.5 per cent, Hindus on 1.7 per cent, Sikhs on 0.9 per cent and Buddhists and Jews on 0.5 per cent.
Also, the census data also indicated that every major religion increased over the ten-year period, except for Christianity.
Responding to the new study, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said it was no “great surprise” that the Christian proportion was declining over time, but adding that Christianity is “the largest movement on Earth”.
“It’s not a great surprise that the census shows fewer people in this country identifying as Christian than in the past, but it still throws down a challenge to us not only to trust that God will build his kingdom on Earth but also to play our part in making Christ known,” added The Archbishop.