UNITED KINGDOM, November 29, 2022 (BBC News): For the first time fewer than half of people in England and Wales describe themselves as Christian, the Census 2021 has revealed. The proportion of people who said they were Christian was 46.2%, down from 59.3% in the last census in 2011. In contrast the number who said they had no religion increased to 37.2% of the population, up from a quarter. Those identifying as Hindus were 1,032,775, 1.7% of the population, while Muslims were 6.5% last year, a sharp increase from 4.9% in 2011. The census is carried out every 10 years by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

People were asked the broad question of what their religion was rather than being asked more specifically about their beliefs or religious practices, in the voluntary question included in the census since 2001. Ticking “no religion” does not mean having no beliefs, says Prof Linda Woodhead, from King’s College London. “Some will be atheist, a lot will be agnostic – they just say, ‘I don’t really know’ – and some will be spiritual and be doing spiritual things.” she said. Separately when people were asked about their ethnic group, 81.7% of residents in England and Wales identified as White, down from 86.0% a decade earlier, according to the census. And 74.4% of the total population identified as White as well as English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British. The next most common ethnic group was Asian, Asian British or Asian Welsh accounting for 9.3% of the overall population – 5.5 million people, up from 4.2 million. One in 10 of households across England and Wales are now made up of people from two or more different ethnic groups – an increase from 8.7%.

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