Census figures show Christianity in sharp decline while belief in Islam dramatically increases

A fresh analysis of the 2011 census has shown that Christian faith in the UK is declining rapidly amongst the British-born population, whilst belief in Islam has dramatically increased. A report published by the Office for National Statistics revealed that the percentage of people following a Christian faith dropped from 71.7 per cent in 2001 to 59.3 per cent in 2011. More than one in 10 under 25s in the UK now describes themselves as Muslim. Figures for Christianity were boosted however by the 1.2 million foreign-born Christians residing in the UK, such as Polish Catholics and evangelicals from countries such as Nigeria. Meanwhile, the percentage of the people who have no religion rose from 14.8 per cent to a quarter of the population. Even the kind of belonging measured by baptism has diminished, so that there are now about half as many every year as there were in 1980. The median age of Christians in this country is 45; the median age of Muslims is 25. The ONS does not distinguish among different Christian denominations any more than the census did. But it’s finding that the number of British-born Christians fell by 15% in the 10 years between 2001 and 2011 while the number of foreign-born ones increased by 1.2 million is also really bad for the Church of England. Hardly any of the immigrants were Anglicans, or became Anglican. In south London this is obvious from the profusion of Pentecostal churches, mostly nowadays West African. Catholic immigrants have tended to remain Catholics, of course, which has disguised the fall in native-born numbers much better than happened in the Church of England. At the same time the number of Muslims in England and Wales surged by 75 per cent – boosted by almost 600,000 more foreign born followers of the Islamic faith. While almost half of British Muslims are under the age of 25, almost a quarter of Christians are over 65.

Religion Census 2011 Summary