Census 2011: Religion Declining, Immigration Rises With 7.5 Million Born Outside UK Over Decade

More Atheist, Immigrants And Graduates Than Ever

If you were living in England and Wales in 2011, you're more likely to be atheist, well educated, healthy, single and born in a foreign country than ever before.

The number of Christians living in England and Wales in 2011 was four million lower than in 2001 - their numbers fell from 37.3 million to 33.2 million, according to official 2011 census data released on Tuesday.

Religion is declining, those identifying themselves as having no religion has increased by 10 percentage points from 15%, 7.7 million people, in 2001 to 25%, 14.1 million, last year.

According to the British Humanist Association, Christians could be a minority by 2018. A spokesman told The Huffington Post UK: "The figure has dropped by 12.4% from March 2001 to March 2011. That's 1.24% a year.

"At 59.3% currently, there needs to be another 9.3% drop to reach the tipping point. That's in seven-and-a-half years."

But Christianity still came out as the top religion box ticked in 2011, followed by Muslim, a box ticked by 2.7 million people or 4.8% of the population, up from 1.8% in 2001.

More than seven million people were born outside the UK in 2011

The British Humanist Association led a campaign during 2011, urging those with no religion to declare it on the census, with the slogan "If you’re not religious, for God’s sake say so!"

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said in response: "This is a really significant cultural shift. In spite of a biased question that positively encourages religious responses, to see such an increase in the non-religious and such a decrease in those reporting themselves as Christian is astounding.

"Of course these figures still exaggerate the number of Christians overall – the number of believing, practicing Christians is much lower than this and the number of those leading their lives with no reference to religion much higher."

But in an interview with the Radio Times out this month, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said English cathedral congregations had in fact grown dramatically in recent years and he described the idea that the Church of England was fading away as a "cliche".

The data also showed the percentage of single people rose from 30% in 2001 to 35% in 2011 and that 105,000 people were in civil partnerships in England and Wales, the law was introduced in 2005.

Of the 7.5 million of residents of England and Wales on 27 March 2011 who were born outside of the UK, just over half arrived in the last decade.

The number of foreign-born residents living in England and Wales increased from 4.6 million in 2001 to 7.5 million in 2011 - 13% of the population, the Office for National Statistics said.

Guy Goodwin, the ONS's director of census, said: "These statistics paint a picture of society and help us all plan for the future using accurate information at a local level.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg of census statistics. Further rich layers of vital information will be revealed as we publish more detailed data for very local levels over the coming months."

London is incredibly ethnically diverse, with four London boroughs, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Brent and Newham - having majority populations of people who have been born overseas, while 37% of Londoners overall were born outside the UK.

No religion: more people described themselves as atheist than ever before

India, Poland and Pakistan are the main countries people have moved to Britain from.

Poland showed by far the largest percentage increase in the top ten countries of birth, with a nine-fold rise over the last decade and following its accession to the EU in 2004.

Wales is the least ethnically diverse area.

Polish people emigrating to the UK has increased dramatically since EU membership in 2004

White people make up 86% of the population in 2011, a decrease from 91.3% in 2001 and 94.1% in 1991.

British people appear to be healthy and well-educated, four out of every five residents of England and Wales described themselves as being in good or very good health. And there are more people with qualifications above Level Four, a Bachelor's degree, than there are people who have no qualifications at all.

The resident population of England and Wales on the 27 March 2011 was 56.1 million, a seven per cent increase since 2001.

Immigrants account for 55%, 2.1 million people. There are 2 million households in England and Wales where people are in mixed race relationships, or household members are different ethnic groups - a 47% increase since in 2001.


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