England & Wales Are Now Less than 50% Christian, Historic Poll Reveals

New data from the 2021 census reveals a sharp decline in the number of people identifying as Christian in England and Wales for the first time.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the data from its 2021 census, which reported significant changes in the UK’s population since 2011. According to the census, the number of people identifying as Christian in England and Wales fell from 59.3% or 33.3 million in 2011 to 46.2% or 27.5 million in 2021, showing a 5.5 million or 17% decrease.

Although this was the first time in the census that fewer than half of the population of both England and Wales described themselves as “Christian,” the Office for National Statistics noted that it is still the most common response.

On the other hand, people in England and Wales who said they have no religion increased from 25.2% or 14.1 million in 2011 to 37.2% or 22.2 million, marking a trend in the rise of religious “nones” in both areas and making it the second most common response.

However, not only non-religious people saw an increase in number from the 2021 census, but also adherents of other religions. Those who identify as Muslim rose from 4.9% or 2.7 million in 2011 to 6.5% or 3.9 million in 2021, making it the fastest-growing religion in England and Wales.

The number of people who identified as Buddhist, Hindu, or Sikh also increased, while those identifying as Jewish remained the same at 0.5%. Regarding land area, London was the most religiously diverse region in England, with about 25.3% of Londoners adhering to a religion other than Christianity.

Reacting to the latest data from the 2021 census, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said that both countries "left behind the era when many people almost automatically identified as Christian.” Nevertheless, he said that the Christian church would continue to work amidst the religion’s "revival and decline."

Andrew Copson, President of Humanists UK, said that the data from the 2021 census should serve as a “wake-up call which prompts fresh reconsiderations of the role of religion in society.

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,” he added.

"It's official - we are no longer a Christian country." Stephen Evans, head of the National Secular Society, said this about the data from the 2021 census.

To this day, Christianity remains the official religion of the United Kingdom, with King Charles III serving as the head of the Church of England, the official state religion in England.

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