Fewer Christians, more non-religious11 December 2012
The number of Christians has declined and a quarter of the population of the UK say that they have no religion, the 2011 census has revealed.
Christianity is the only religion to have experienced a decline since the Office of National Statistics conducted the last census in 2001. Since then the number of people who said that they were Christian has fallen by 12.4 per cent, from 71.7 per cent to 59.3 per cent. The number of people saying that they have no religion has increased by 10 per cent to 25 per cent of the population, and now forms the second largest category. Fewer than 30,000 people identified themselves as atheist.
The bishops' conference described the decline as a "challenge" but added: "The fact that six out of 10 people in England and Wales self-identify as Christians is not discouraging. Christianity is no longer a religion of culture, but a religion of decision and commitment. People are making a positive choice in self-identifying as Christians."
Elsewhere the census showed an increase in the populations of other religious groups. Overall Muslims were the second largest religious group - 2.7 million people, or 2.8 per cent of the population - an increase of almost two per cent since 2001.
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