There has been a large fall in the number of people who consider themselves as Christian, dropping below half the population of England and Wales for the first time.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released its latest data taken from the 2021 Census, showing the changes since 2011.
Some 46.2% said they were Christian, down from 59.3% in 2011.
ONS data – main points:
• Number of people using Romanian as their main language rose from 0.1% to 0.8% (68,000 to 472,000), which is 2nd to Polish in a list of languages used other than English and Welsh
• 37.2% said they had “no religion” up from 25.2%, but there were increases among those identifying as Muslim (4.9% to 6.5%) and Hindu (1.5% to 1.7%)
• Polish remains most common non-UK identity, Romanian was 2nd (a rise from 16th), Indian remains 3rd, while Irish dropped to 4th (from 2nd).
• Of Londoners, the most ethnically diverse region of England, 36.8% identified as White: English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British – down from 44.9%
• 90.3% of the population selected at least one of these identities: British, English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, or Cornish, down slightly from 92%
• Increase in multi-ethnic households, from 8.7% to 10.1%
Speaking about the statistics the Archbishop of York said the country has “left behind the era when many people almost automatically identified as Christian”.
The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell said the Christian church would continue its work in the face of both “revival and decline”.
Andrew Copson chief executive of Humanists UK said: “These results confirm that the biggest demographic change in England and Wales of the last 10 years has been the dramatic growth of the non-religious.”
Meanwhile the National Secular Society’s chief executive Stephen Evans said: “It’s official – we are no longer a Christian country.”
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Polish ranked top non-UK identity
The percentage of the population who described themselves as having a non-UK identity rose to 9.7%, compared with 8% in 2011.
Polish remained top with Romanian 2nd – rising from 16th place in 2011 (73,000 to 477,000).
Indian was ranked 3rd and Irish 4th.
Other noticeable increases were among Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Lithuanian identities.
Recent ONS statistics showed one in six people living in England and Wales were born outside of the UK.
Those figures also revealed that, in a decade, there was a 576% rise in the number of people who had listed Romania as their country of birth.