The English and Welsh population less and less Christian

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the United Kingdom has published the results of its 2021 census.

For the first time, less than half the population of England and Wales identify as Christian, according to new results from the 2021 census published on Tuesday 29 November, which paint a portrait of a more diverse and secular population.

The proportion of the population describing themselves as Christian falls to 46.2% (27.5 million people), a decrease of 13.1 points from 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). “no religioncomes in second (37.2%, up 12 points), while 6.5% (3.9 million people) describe themselves as Muslim compared to 4.9% in 2011, and 1.7% Hindu vs 1 .5% 10 years ago.

Not surprisingly, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, one of the two spiritual leaders of the Church of England, notes that “the era when many people automatically identify as Christians is behind us, but other studies show that these same people are seeking spiritual truth and wisdom and values ​​to follow in their lives“.

This decline is explained by demographic factors, detailed during a briefing by the Religion Media Center, Professor Linda Woodhead of King’s College London, “people die“. But also from the lack of transmission of Christianity between the generations, she said according to The Guardiantransmission that occurs “more effectively in Islam and Hinduism“. The group Humanists UK, which campaigns for the rights of non-religious people, believes the government should take lessons from this census, particularly in education: a third of primary schools are Christian and 16% have selection policies based on religion.

Britain is almost certainly one of the least religious countries on earth“, says its chief executive Andrew Copson, “no other state in Europesees religion as present in legislation and public order. “Iran is the only other state in the world whose clerics votethe laws, he denounced, referring to the clergy who sit in the House of Lords.

English, Romanian or Punjabi

When the question about religion is answered on a voluntary basis, 94% of the population made this choice compared to almost 93% during the last census ten years ago. Scotland and Northern Ireland, the other two nations that make up the United Kingdom, conduct their censuses separately. “It is clear that Britain is a diverse country, this is something to be welcomed», «this includes religious diversityPrime Minister’s spokesman Rishi Sunak said.

Coincidentally, Rishi Sunak, the first head of the British government of Hindu religion and Indian origin, receives on Tuesday in Downing Street the priest of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Tosin Oladipo and other guests from the Christian community for Advent – the period before Christmas.

The other parts of the census released Tuesday reflect a diversification of the population, which predominantly self-identifies as white (81.7% in 2021 versus 86% in 2011). Within this group, 74.4% identify as English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British, falling steadily since 2011 (80.5%) and 2001 (87.5%).

The second ethnic group includes Asians – a term which in the United Kingdom primarily refers to populations originating from the Indian subcontinent -, British Asians or Welsh Asians, who represent 9.3% of the population and have experienced the highest increase. significantly (compared to 7.5% in 2011). In numerical order, this group consists of Indian, Pakistani,other Asians», Bangladesh, Chinese. Populations”black, black British, black Welsh, Caribbean or Africanamounted to 4% against 3.3% ten years ago.

10.1% of households have members who identify as belonging to two or more different ethnic groups. Questions about ethnic groups were introduced in the 1991 census. In terms of language, in 2021 91.1% of usual residents aged three and over spoke mainly English – English or Welsh in Wales – compared with 92.3% ten years ago . The other most common main languages ​​are Polish, Romanian, Punjabi and Urdu.


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