In one of the most notable takeaways from the latest census data released by Britain, the UK’s Muslim population has shown a ‘rapid’ rise, even as the Christian population has declined, for the first time, below the 50 percent mark, reported Times Now.
Interestingly, there is also a sizeable portion of the Hindu population in the UK – the UK population data has shown. This is the first time that the country’s official religion – Christianity – has been followed by a minority population.
According to the excerpts of the data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), some 46.2% of the population of England and Wales described themselves as Christian on the day of the 2021 census, down from 59.3% a decade earlier. The Muslim population grew from 4.9% to 6.5% of the population, even as 1.7% identified as Hindu, up from 1.5%, a news agency PTI cited.
According to the data, the Muslim population in the UK stands at 3.9 million, followed by Hindus – one million and Sikhs 5.24 lakh. Interestingly, the Buddhist population in the UK overtook Jewish population, which stands at 2.71 lakh. About 27.5 million people in England and Wales described themselves as Christian. This is down by 13.1 percent from 2011.
One in every three people said that they had ‘no religion’. “The 10-yearly census carried out in 2021 showed rapid growth for the Muslim population, but “no religion” was the second most common response after Christian,” the ONS said in the report.
Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell told AFP that the decline in the number of Christians in the UK was ‘no surprise’, but added that spirituality was still the need of the population in light of the increasing cost of living and the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
It may be noted that religion is a voluntary entry in the UK population census. The question was added to the UK census in 2001, according to the UK population census data.