England and Wales are no longer Christian-majority countries, according to the census
| Last updated
The new census shows that England and Wales are no longer Christian-majority countries.
For the first time ever, the government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that 46 per cent of the population in Wales and England identified as Christian in 2021 - down from 59 per cent a decade ago.
However, ‘no religion’ was the second highest response, increasing by 12 percentage points to 37.2 per cent in 2021 from 25.2 per cent in 2011.
There was a greater decrease in people identifying as Christian in Wales with a 14 percentage point drop, from 57.6 per cent in 2011 to 43.6 per cent last year.
‘No religion’ has also surged to 46.5 per cent from 32.1 per cent in the region.
The census also found a significant increase in people who described themselves as Muslim.
In 2011, 1.5 per cent of surveyed people said they were Islamic, which in the past decade has increased to 6.5 per cent (3.9 million people).
Hindu also increased slightly from 1.5 per cent to 1.7 per cent.
London remains the most religiously diverse region in England, with over one quarter (25.3 per cent) of people reporting a religion other than Christian.
The North East and South West were discovered to be the least religiously diverse, with 4.2 per cent and 3.2 per cent, respectively, reporting a religion outside of Christianity.
Professor Linda Woodhead of King’s College, London, shared at a briefing organised by the Religion Media Centre that the decline in Christianity was due to age, as per The Guardian.
She said: “The Christian population is quite an aged population, and therefore the death rate affects it. People are simply dying.”
She added: “But it’s also about not passing on religion to your children.”
In Christianity, faith was not being passed down through the generations, she said, whereas 'it’s happening much more effectively in Islam and Hinduism'.
According to The Guardian, the chief executive of Humanists UK, Andrew Copson, said the shifting attitudes in religion show the discord between residents and cultural institutions.
He said: “One of the most striking things about these census results is how at odds the population is from the state itself. No state in Europe has such a religious setup as we do in terms of law and public policy, while at the same time having such a non-religious population.”