Christianity on the Decline?
(UnitedVoice.com) – Christianity has long been the dominant religion in the United Kingdom. The Church of England, founded by King Henry VIII, became the state church, and King Charles III leads the sect now. However, the number of people who consider themselves practicing Christians has slowly declined in recent decades. Now, for the first time, less than half of the population in Wales and England consider themselves Christians.
Religious Affiliation Across the Pond
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its most recent Census, which includes data showing the percentage of people practicing various religions in England and Wales. In 2021, 46.2% of the population reported they were Christians. That’s down from the 71.8% who responded similarly in 2001. A decade later, the 2011 Census showed a significant drop, with only 59.3% labeling themselves Christians.
Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, who serves as the Archbishop of York for the Church of England, told the news agency that it isn’t “a great surprise” to see the declining numbers. He explained that the days are gone when people “automatically identified as Christian,” but the numbers show people are still looking for “spiritual truth and wisdom and a set of values to live by.”
Not All Religions Declining
While the number of people identifying as Christians grows smaller, some religions are seeing increased numbers in Wales and England. In 2001, 2.8% of the population identified as Muslim. The 2011 Census showed 4.8% of the population embraced the religion. Last year, the number of practicing Muslims rose to 6.5%.
Additionally, the percentage of people who practice Hinduism grew from 1% in 2001 to 1.5% a decade later and now stands at 1.7%.
The number of people who don’t count themselves as belonging to any religion has notably grown significantly over the last two decades. In 2001, 15.1% of people living in Wales and England said they didn’t identify with any religion. Fast forward to 2011, and that number had grown to 25.1%. Now, it’s up to a whopping 37.2%.
Christianity Declining in the US
The declines in the UK are similar to what’s happening in the United States. A 2022 study by the Pew Research Center showed the rate of Christianity in the US has also declined for decades. According to the most recent 2020 estimates, about 64% of Americans consider themselves Christians, while 30% have no religious affiliation. That’s down significantly from 1972, when roughly 90% of the population followed Christianity.
The study predicted that the number of Christians would fall below 50% of the population by 2070.
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