The latest census of the United Kingdom has indicated that Christians have become a minority in the British isles for the first time since the national records began. Christians remain the plurality as the largest single religious group, but they have lost the majority status, while just about every other religion has increased membership.
Data from the census, provided by Catholic Review, showed a 13.1% fall in the UK’s Christian population, from 33.3 million to 27.5 million. The figures from 2011 showed a firm Christian majority with nearly 60% of the population, but Christians had lost majority status, with only around 46%, by 2021.
In stark contrast to these declining numbers, the “nones” have risen to account for 37.2% of the UK population. In the last 10 years, those who regard themselves as belonging to no religion have increased by 14.1 million. If the trend continues unabated, then the nones are expected to overtake Christians by the 2031 census.
The nones were not the only group that saw an increase over the last decade, as other religions that are minorities in the UK have gained traction. Muslim communities have grown by nearly 800,000, Hindus by 200,000, Sikhs by 100,000, and Jews by 25,000.
Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury commented that the census illustrates a challenge in the “task of new evangelization.” After reiterating the influence of Christian values on the foundation of British society, he said:
“We are witnessing a drift from our Christian moorings, more, it would seem, by default than conviction. People cannot live long in a vacuum, and if Christianity is not rediscovered as our guiding light, then society will increasingly become vulnerable to passing and often dangerous ideologies.”