The bleak future for religion in the UK, in 5 charts

Louis Dor
Tuesday 24 May 2016 18:00
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Picture: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

The number of people who say they have no religion vastly outnumbers that of the Christian population of England and Wales, and it's only increasing.

As the below chart from Statista shows, Those who define themselves as Christian make up 43.8 per cent of the population, compared to those of no religion who make up 48.5 per cent.

The main driver of the growth of the 'no religion' demographic is people falling away from the faiths of their upbringing.

Stephen Bullivant, senior lecturer in theology and ethics at St Mary’s Catholic University in Twickenham, said:

What we’re seeing is an acceleration in the numbers of people not only not practising their faith on a regular basis, but not even ticking the box. The reason for that is the big question in the sociology of religion.

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Despite the clear fall in the Christian demographic, a spokesperson for the Church of England denied this indicated an increasingly secular society.

A spokesperson for the Church of England told the Guardian:

The increase in those identifying as ‘no faith’ reflects a growing plurality in society rather than any increase in secularism or humanism. We do not have an increasingly secular society as much as a more agnostic one.

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In a global context, adherence to religion is growing rather than decreasing. Christianity remains the world’s largest religion with over two billion adherents. In the UK the latest census found the overwhelming majority of people to have a faith.

The report also demonstrated that younger generations of religious people attend church less than older age groups...

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...and that those who attend church are also far more likely to be female, while the figure of 18-24 year old men attending Catholic church stands at 0 per cent.

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More: How strongly different countries around the world feel about religion, in one graph

More: The future of religion, in 7 maps and charts

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