2021 Census in the charts: Christianity has become a minority religion in England and Wales | Census

The 2021 census is likely to be remembered as the one in which Christianity became a minority religion in England and Wales.

On Census Day, March 21, 2021, 46.2% of people identified as Christian, down from 59.3% of the population in the 2011 census, a drop of 13 percentage points in a decade.

A key census finding helps explain this: the significant increase in the number of people identifying as having no particular religion.

No religion, charted

The number of people identifying as Christian has dropped by 5.5 million over the past decade. While all other major religions saw an increase in numbers, the deficit of those who identify as Christians was far outweighed by the increase of 8.5 million people who declared no religion, to 22 ,2 millions. This represents more than a third of the population of England and Wales, up from a quarter just a decade ago.

Almost all local authorities have recorded an increase in the proportion of those who say they have no religion, with more than half of the population in 10 councils saying they are not religious.

Although small – 0.6% of the population in England and Wales – the number of people belonging to the “other religion” category (a religion other than Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim or Sikh) has increased over 100,000 in the decade between the last two census cycles.

The most common of these is paganism with nearly 74,000 adherents in England and Wales, including three in every 1,000 inhabitants of Ceredigion, Cornwall, Somerset, Isle of Wight, Powys and Gwynedd.

Less than half of the population in England and Wales now describes themselves as Christian

Spiritualism, spiritualism, wicca and shamanism are also among the ten most common religions.

Minor religions – 2021 census

This latest version of the census is not just about religion. The 2021 census showed that some of England’s biggest cities are becoming more diverse, with more than half the population of Leicester, Luton and Birmingham now from an ethnic minority background.

Slough now has the highest ethnic minority population of any council outside London, at two-thirds of the population, up from 54.3% a decade ago.

The populations of Leicester, Luton and Birmingham are now more than 50% black and ethnic minorities

In England and Wales, the ethnic minority population has increased from 14% of the population in 2011 to 18.3% at the 2021 census.

How people see themselves was also captured, with a slight drop in the number of people identifying with at least one British national identity, but a sharp drop in those identifying as “English only”.

Identity – 2021 census

The number of people who consider themselves English-only has dropped dramatically, from 58% to just 15% of the population in 2021. Conversely, more than half of the population described themselves as “British-only last year, compared to 19% ten years ago. . Meanwhile, one in 50 people identify as having both a British and non-British identity.

The proportion of people speaking English or Welsh as their main language has only slightly decreased from 92.3% to 91.1% over the past 10 years. But while Polish has remained the second most common primary language, there have been many other changes over the past decade.


Most notable has been the number of people whose first language is Romanian, with 472,000 speakers today compared to 68,000 ten years ago. Portuguese speakers, Spanish speakers and Italian speakers have all seen their populations grow.

But Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali and Arabic are in decline, as is French, which dropped out of the top 10 other major languages ​​spoken this year.

At the bottom of the table were Irish Traveler Cant (36 people said it was their main language), Ulster Scots (16) and Manx Gaelic (8).

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