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What does the Census tell us about religion in 2011?

Changing religious affiliations in England and Wales

In the 2011 Census, Christianity was the largest religious group in England and Wales with 33.2 million people identifying with the religion, a decrease of 4.1 million from 2001 (from 72% to 59% of the usual resident population). Muslims made up the second largest religious group with 2.7 million people, an increase of 1.2 million (from 3% to 5% of the population). The number of people who reported that they did not have a religion reached 14.1 million people, an increase of 6.4 million (from 15% to 25% of the population).

Age and religion

In 2011, Christians had the oldest age profile of the main religious groups, with one in five (22%) aged 65 and over. People were less likely to report being Christian across all age groups in 2011 compared with 2001, particularly those aged under 60. Muslims had the youngest age profile of the main religious groups. Nearly half of Muslims (48%) were aged under 25 (1.3 million), an increase of 505,000 since 2001. People with no religion had a younger age profile than the population as a whole in 2011. Four in ten people with no religion (39%) were aged under 25. The number of people with no religion has increased across all age groups, particularly for those aged 20 to 24 and 40 to 44.

Diversity and religion

In England and Wales, over nine in ten Christians (93%) were White and nine in ten (89%) were born in the UK, though the numbers have fallen since 2001. The majority of people with no religion were White (93%) and born in the UK (93%) and these numbers have increased since 2001.

Muslims were more ethnically diverse. Two-thirds of Muslims (68%) were from an Asian background, with Pakistanis making up 38% of the total Muslim population, a 371,000 increase (from 658,000 to over a million) since 2001. Just over half of all Muslims (53%) in 2011 were born outside the UK. Numbers of foreign-born Muslims have almost doubled from 828,000 in 2001 to 1.4 million in 2011.


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Categories: People and Places, People, Identity, Religion and Identity
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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