Ethnicity & Religion
7/10 in England and Wales White Christian
Ethnic group by religious composition, April 2001, England & Wales, All people
The 2001 Census collected information about ethnicity and religious identity. Combining these results shows that while the population is more culturally diverse than ever before, White Christians remain the largest single group by far. In England and Wales, 36 million people (nearly 7 out of 10) described their ethnicity as White and their religion as Christian.
Majorities of Black people and those from Mixed ethnic backgrounds also identified as Christian (71 and 52 per cent respectively). In total there were 810 thousand Black Christians and 347 thousand Christians from Mixed ethnic backgrounds.
Among other faiths the largest groups were Pakistani Muslims (658 thousand) and Indian Hindus (467 thousand) followed by Indian Sikhs (301 thousand), Bangladeshi Muslims (260 thousand) and White Jews (252 thousand).
The Indian group was religiously diverse. 45 per cent of Indians were Hindu, 29 per cent Sikh and a further 13 per cent Muslim. By contrast the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups were more homogenous, Muslims accounting for 92 per cent of each ethnic group.
Some faith communities were concentrated in particular ethnic groups. For example, 91 per cent of Sikhs were Indian and 97 per cent of Jews described their ethnicity as White. Others faiths were more widely dispersed; significant proportions of Buddhists were found in the White, Chinese, Other Asian and Other Ethnic groups.
Overall, 15 per cent of the English and Welsh population reported having no religion although variation by ethnicity was marked. Just over half of all Chinese people, and one quarter of people from Mixed ethnic backgrounds, stated they had no religion. Asian, Black African and Irish people were least likely to have no religious affiliation. Fewer than 1 in 200 Pakistanis and Bangladeshis reported having no religion.
14 per cent of people in the Other Black group chose not to answer the religion question, almost twice the average for England and Wales as a whole. Similar proportions of people in the Black Caribbean and Mixed ethnic groups also gave no answer.
1 The Census question about religion was voluntary.
Source: Census, April 2001, Office for National Statistics.