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The Big Reveal: Religion data from the census is available!

Sarah Butler

18th January 2023

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one inviting my friends over for a census reveal party before Christmas? (Food included Bergers, and a Bloch of cheese, washed down with some spiritual gin!)

The day we had been waiting for finally arrived, giving us access to the huge and representative data sample that is the England and Wales Census, namely the religion part!

For the first time in a census of England and Wales, less than half of the population (46.2%) described themselves as “Christian”. This is a 13.1 percentage point decrease from 59.3% (33.3 million) in 2011, continuing the decrease since 2001, when 71.7% described themselves as "Christian".

Despite this decrease, “Christian” remained the most common response to the religion question.

Get the ONS overview straight from the source here.

The Guardian reported Christianity as a minority religion in the UK and Wales here.

Some media reports focused on overall secularisation, stating that ‘almost four in ten have no religion’.

And the National Secular Society in this boldly worded article, tells us that ‘Science has replaced creationism. Equality has replaced biblically endorsed patriarchy. Tolerance has replaced condemning those who aren't in an opposite-sex marriage. And the stigma of being a non-believer has almost completely vanished” - I’m left feeling that this quote could form an entire sociology lesson in itself, drawing from a range of perspectives and theories! I know what I’ll be doing with my year 13s!

Sarah Butler

Sarah is an experienced Head of Social Sciences, EPQ Coordinator and Sociology examiner.

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