Salisbury area bucks trend but fewer people identify as Christian in UK

The number of people identifying as Christian has decreased in England and Wales according to the voluntary census of religious identity carried out in 2021.

Participation was up from the previous survey from 92 to 94% (56 million responses). The decrease corresponded to an increase in the number of people reporting as having no religion.
For the first time in a census of England and Wales, less than half of the population (46.2%, 27.5 million people) described themselves as “Christian”, a 13.1 percentage point decrease from 59.3% (33.3 million) in 2011.
Despite this decrease, “Christian” remained the most common response to the religion question. “No religion” was the second most common response, increasing by 12.0 percentage points to 37.2% (22.2 million) from 25.2% (14.1 million) in 2011.

There were increases in the number of people who described themselves as “Muslim” (3.9 million, 6.5% in 2021, up from 2.7 million, 4.9% in 2011) and “Hindu” (1.0 million, 1.7% in 2021, up from 818,000, 1.5% in 2011).
Wales saw a 14 percentage point decrease in people reporting as Christian, from 57.6% in 2011 to 43.6% in 2021.

People in the Gazette area bucked the trend somewhat with most districts seeing higher numbers of people identifying as Christian than the national average.
Only Salisbury Bemerton had a lower percentage of people who stated their religion as Christian at 43.5% with 47.9% identifying as no religion. The highest percentage identifying as Christian was 58.9% in Great Wishford, the Woodford Valley and Porton, with only 33.9% stating that they had no religion.
Responding to the survey, the Rt Revd Stephen Lake, Bishop of Salisbury said: “While fewer people in the UK identify as Christian, we know from many other surveys that huge numbers of people are praying regularly and want to explore questions of spirituality and faith.

“The Church of England is there for everyone, in every community, regardless of whether people tick the box to identify as Christian or not.
“It offers space to think and reflect, as well as a place to both celebrate and mourn life’s events and challenges. This winter, Christians and parish churches in Wiltshire are also offering warmth and food as the church seeks to support people through the cost of living crisis.
“The census figures do present the Church and all Christians with a challenge to keep sharing the story of what our faith offers people in today’s world.”

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