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Fewer than half the population of Wales now consider themselves to be Christians, according to latest ONS data

18 Dec 2021 2 minutes Read
St. David. Picture by Hchc2009 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

In the 19th century, many in Wales prided themselves on being – by their own estimation – one of the most Christian parts of the British Isles.

But the latest data shows that by 2019, under 50% of the population considered themselves to be Christians, with almost as many having no religion at all.

According to data by the ONS published this week, only 48.2% of the population now considers themselves to be Christians. Across Wales and England, the area where the ONS gather data, an estimated 51% of the population reported their religion as Christian.

The figure for Wales is less than any region of England apart from London, where only 45.1% consider themselves Christian but far more subscribe to other religions, including 14.3% who consider themselves Muslim and 8.6% Hindu.

Wales has the highest percentage who consider themselves to have no religion at all, at 47.3%. Meanwhile, 1.8% are Muslim and 0.5% Hindu.

“The North East, South West, and Wales were the least religiously diverse regions, with over 95% of their populations Christian or with No religion,” the ONS said.

Discussing the figures across Wales and England, they said: “In 2019, an estimated 51.0% of the population reported their religion as Christian, making it the most prevalent religious group in England and Wales.

“However, numbers identifying as Christian have fallen by 8.3 percentage points since the 2011 Census (when 59.3% identified as Christian).”

The statistics are based on the Annual Population Survey (APS) which is the UK’s largest continuous household survey. But the statistics are considered more of an estimate than the census, the results of which are expected to be announced next year.

“The methodology assumes that the proportions of the population groups within England and Wales living in households and communal establishments remain unchanged since the 2011 Census,” the ONS said.

“The uncertainty caused by these assumptions cannot be easily quantified and it is not possible to explore the potential impact of these assumptions until 2021 census data are available.”


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Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
6 months ago

This is no surprise. That is not to say that the legacy of Christianity is not respected by the vast majority as an important element of our cultural heritage. The placenames, the legends of saints and holy people, the historic buildings, the literature inspired by Christian spirituality and traditions, …

Richard
Richard
6 months ago

Oh god ! I’m
a minority again … getting a habit in modern Wales ….
Might ask Grayham for his thoughts on how best to survive this one ☝️

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
6 months ago

Is Graham a Christian?

Richard
Richard
6 months ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

It was more the being in a minority side i felt his counsel might benefit me on.. 🤔

Last edited 6 months ago by Richard
GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
6 months ago

I was brought up Roman Catholic and then I got a book about dinosaurs at the age of 8 and it totally flipped my world. Out of the two books, one showed me evidence and reasons things happened the way they did, the other was just a load of fairy tales with zero evidence to back up their claims. Guess which one was which. I am actually surprised that the figures are so high, but does being a Christian count as beleiving what it says because I could still be classed as a Catholic even though I believe non of… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

At one level this may just represent a rejection of the institutions of Christian religion. After all there isn’t much to like about how Catholicism preaches the virtues of poverty while amassing immense wealth. Same goes for the CofE. Welsh nonconformism was an extreme form of mental self flagellation, almost everything was “sin” yet many of its leaders were almost addicted to some form of hanky panky. The other level of debate, and now doubt, revolves around the very existence of a God/Creator or whatever one chooses to call him/her/it. The materialistic nature of our modern western society has not… Read more »

Crwtyn Cemais
Crwtyn Cemais
6 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

An eternal, spiritual Star-Trek existence, like the one your last sentence suggests, sounds quite appealing…shuffling around the star systems…

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago
Reply to  Crwtyn Cemais

Wouldn’t want to do it on my own, but there again when reduced to a soul the concept of solitude might be irrelevant !

Last edited 6 months ago by hdavies15
GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
6 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I read an interesting fact the other day about the Voyager 1 spaceprobe that was launched in the 70’s. It is travelling at 10miles per second and still won’t reach the next solar system to us for the next 70,000 years (which is 4.2 lightyears away). The universe is so huge, any god that exists wouldn’t even care if we existed or not let alone if we were sleeping around pre wedlock or taking drugs. We are so insignificant to the universe its quite scary how huge it is. My personal view is that we are extremely lucky to even… Read more »

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
6 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Why in this day and age anyone feels the need to believe in a creator being I don’t know. Ditto for the idea that we have some sort of eternal soul as well.

My own belief is that when you die that’s pretty much it, your consciousness just ceases to be (clearly the chemicals that make up your body continue to exist).

Some of you may find that depressing but I don’t think so myself: your existence in the universe is brief so make the most of it. And no that is not an excuse for selfish behaviour.

Moses
Moses
6 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

GW Atkinson:- “does being a Christian count as beleiving what it says because I could still be classed as a Catholic even though I believe non of it and even have huge disdain for the organisation” Me:- “Of course you have to believe. And no right thinking Church would admit you into its number with that confession! You’re right that there are a lot of old folk faithfully keeping a hold of their religion. I wish for there to be more. Likewise, there are many youngsters like myself still getting a thrill for discovering new things about our good old… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
6 months ago
Reply to  Moses

As far as I can see, the catholic church built western civilisation, and was pleased to find a short history by the name written by Thomas H Woods.
Unbiased readers might find this book at least an interesting read?

Last edited 6 months ago by j humphrys
Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
6 months ago

The people are not GOD FEARING any more that’s why there are terrible things happening in the country now

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm rj

The term “God-fearing” alludes to a populous blindly obeying commandments not followed by the almighty. Sounds a bit like Boris Johnson’s Conservative attitude to their own Covid restrictions.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
6 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm rj

Why would you fear something that science has found zero evidence of and has explanations for most stuff the Bible was wrong about? It’s just progress and no doubt in 500 years time will will be viewed as backwards cavemen by historians and everyone else.

j humphrys
j humphrys
6 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Okay, GW, try the phrase “nothing comes from nothing”.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago

I suppose two World Wars in which tens of millions died, not forgetting unsavoury scandals in the Catholic & Anglican Churches have resulted in ones losing their faith or turning to another. As one who has an interest in Welsh history, including the influence Christianity has played in our development since its introduction in the 1st century AD. is only a mere historical blink of the eye compared to our vast history on this island, a history that stretches 34,000 yrs into the mists of time. Christianity has its place, sure, but it doesn’t define who and what we are… Read more »

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
6 months ago

As a Christian, I find the drop in Christians sad. However, everyone has the human right to believe or not to believe. I just hope that Wales will always be a country that is tolerant and respectful of religion, beliefs, human rights and values i.e. where we can all live together.

Last edited 6 months ago by Mr Williams
hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Tolerance and respect. That’s what it should be all about. I can live happily along side all sorts of believers but when some of those believers think they have some divine right to claim supremacy that’s when I reject their warped beliefs. Much the same in the political sphere.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
6 months ago

Question: are Christians remotely Christian? The fundamentals in the Tory government certainly don’t act like it.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
6 months ago

““The North East, South West, and Wales were the least religiously diverse regions, with over 95% of their populations Christian or with No religion,” the ONS said.”

I have to object to the implication that not having a religion somehow makes Wales less religiously diverse as if this is somehow a problem. The fact is that a). people with no religion probably have a far more diverse range of beliefs than people with a religion (who tend to believe what they are told) and b). the world would be a much better place if there were no religions at all.

j humphrys
j humphrys
6 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

China, Soviet Union…………………………?

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
6 months ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Iran? Afghanistan? Northern Ireland? Saudi Arabia? The USA? Poland? India? Any fascist state (Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain etc.) that did dirty deals with the Catholic church?

Incidentally, Stalin was perfectly happy to co-opt the Orthodox church when it suited him.

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