the biggest factor is the growth of “no religion”.
Data from the Census 2021 show that fewer people under 40 in the UK now openly identify as Christians. Instead, they claim “no religion”.
This is the first time any age group has seen the biggest religion in the UK fall to second place.
According to the findings, compared to under 37% a decade earlier, more than 50% of people in their 20s identify as non-religious.
England no longer has a majority of Christians, with the expansion of other religions being the main cause.
However, the biggest factor is the growth of “no religion”.
This increased faster than the Muslim population, which increased from 2.7 million to 3.9 million in 10 years.
Non-religious people are most likely to be found in groups of people aged 27 and older, where more than half do not believe in any religion,
In 2021, people who identified as “Christian” were on average 51 years old, up from 45 in 2011.
However, even older generations, who are significantly more likely to be Christians than atheists, have reported a marked decline in Christian belief over the previous ten years.
The average age of Muslims is 27, while that of those who identify as having “no religion” is 32.
Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists all have older median ages (both 37) and (43) respectively, while Christians are by far the oldest at 51.
The most recent data is anticipated to intensify discussions about the Church of England’s representation in parliament as well as whether “broadly Christian” daily worship should still be compulsory in state schools.
Christianity outperformed all other religions as a percentage of each age group in the previous two decades when the Office for National Statistics (ONS) asked the optional inquiry about religion.
But in contrast to the situation a decade earlier, there are currently 9.8 million Christians under the age of 40, compared to 13.6 million nonreligious individuals.
Campaigners representing non-religious individuals urged the government to change public policy and “renegotiate the place of religion or belief in today’s society” in light of the data, saying they “make plain that the UK faces a non-religious future”.
According to Abby Day, a professor of race, faith, and culture at Goldsmiths, University of London, the Church of England has persisted in demonstrating that it is “radically out of step”.
This comes with the latest development of laws whereby the Church of England rejected demands to allow clergy to conduct same-sex marriages.
This is likely to further the trend of society stepping away from Christianity.
Day said: “Christianity is fading fast because of generational change.
“The baby boomers, the millennials and generation Z are all turning away from Christianity.”
Andrew Copson, the chief executive of Humanists UK, said:
“These results only serve to underline the archaic place that collective worship and faith-based discrimination have in our schools.”
Copson said that the figures were “in stark contrast to how our state institutions operate today”.
He added: “No other European country has such a religious setup as we do in terms of law and public policy, while at the same time having such a non-religious population.”