England and Wales are no longer majority-Christian nations, the Office of National Statistics’ 2021 census has revealed.
Published on Tuesday, the data shows only 46.2% of Brits now identify as Christian, down from 59.3% in 2011. The total number of Christians has decreased, from 33.3 million to 27.5 million over the past decade.
At the same time, all other religious groups have grown in size, most notably “no religion.” While just 25.2% of residents claimed to be nonreligious in 2011, that fraction had grown to 37.2% by last year, representing an increase of 8.1 million people.
Muslims saw the next largest growth, jumping from 4.9% of the population to 6.5%, while the fraction of Hindu residents increased from 1.5% to 1.7%, surpassing one million for the first time.
Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jews all saw more modest gains, as did those who listed their religion as “other,” though notably fewer respondents refused to answer in 2021 than 2011 (7.1% vs 6%).
While the vast majority – 81.7% – of residents of England and Wales identified as “white” on the 2021 census, that figure too has declined over the past decade, down from 86% in 2011.
The next-largest group, Asian British, saw its representation increase from 7.5% to 9.3%, while those identifying as some form of black or African increased from 1.8% to 2.5%.
Minority ethnicities remain largely concentrated in cities, comprising more than half the population of Leicester, Luton, and Birmingham and just under two-thirds of London residents.