Nearly half the residents of Buckinghamshire identify as Christian – as nation sees a drop

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Under half of England and Wales now consider themselves Christian

Nearly half the residents in Buckinghamshire identify as Christian, new census figures show – as England and Wales see a sharp drop.

Humanists UK ran campaigns in the lead up to the censuses in 2011 and 2021 encouraging non-religious people to select "no religion". The organisation said the recent figures should be a "wake-up call" for reconsidering the role religion has in society.

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Office for National Statistics data from the 2021 census shows 47% of people in Buckinghamshire selected Christianity as their religion and about 34% selected "no religion" last year.

Ten candles are lit at the altar, photo from Liam McBurney PA Wire/PA ImagesTen candles are lit at the altar, photo from Liam McBurney PA Wire/PA Images
Ten candles are lit at the altar, photo from Liam McBurney PA Wire/PA Images

Of those who selected "no religion", 257 people said they were agnostic, while 131 selected Atheism.

Across England and Wales, 46% of the population described themselves as Christian in the last census, down from 59% a decade earlier. It is the first time the proportion has dropped below half.

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And the percentage of people saying they had no religion jumped from around a quarter (25%) in 2011 to over a third (37%) last year.

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The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell said: "It’s not a great surprise that the census shows fewer people in this country identifying as Christian than in the past, but it still throws down a challenge to us not only to trust that God will build his kingdom on Earth but also to play our part in making Christ known."

Nationally, there were increases in the proportion of people describing themselves as Muslim, with 6.5% selecting the religion last year, up from 4.9% in the previous census. More people also identified as Hindu, increasing from 1.5% in 2011 to 1.7% in 2021.

In Buckinghamshire, 38,740 identified as Muslim last year and ​14,896 residents said they were Hindu in the survey.

There were 2,914 Buddhists and 1,688 residents who selected Judaism.

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Of the other options, 501 said they were pagans and 29 said they practice Heathenism.

The National Secular Society said the figures show that aspects of society such as the Anglican establishment and daily prayers and worship in parliament and schools, are “all inappropriate, hopelessly outdated and fail to reflect the country we actually live in” and called for reform.

Stephen Evans said, the society's chief executive, said: “It’s official – we are no longer a Christian country.”