Fewer residents of South Holland identify as Christian

Fewer people identify as Christian and more people are non-religious in South Holland than a decade ago, new census figures show.

Ten candles are lit at the altar of St Michael's church in the village of Creeslough in Co Donegal for the victims of the explosion at Applegreen service station on Friday. Picture date: Monday October 10, 2022.
Ten candles are lit at the altar of St Michael's church in the village of Creeslough in Co Donegal for the victims of the explosion at Applegreen service station on Friday. Picture date: Monday October 10, 2022.

Fewer people identify as Christian and more people are non-religious in South Holland than a decade ago, new census figures show.

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.

Office for National Statistics data from the 2021 census shows 59% of people in South Holland selected Christianity as their religion, down significantly from 72% in the last survey a decade before.

About 33% selected "no religion" last year, a leap from 19% in 2011.

Of these, 32 people said they were agnostic, while 21 selected Atheism.

The area follows trends across England and Wales where 46% of the population described themselves as Christian in the recent census, down from 59% a decade earlier. It is the first time the proportion has dropped below half.

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.

The Most Rev 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.

The figures show more people in South Holland identify as Muslim, with 448 selecting the religion last year, up from 258 in 2011.

Additionally, 219 residents said they were Hindu in the survey, up from 100 10 years ago.

There were 171 Buddhists and 62 residents who selected Judaism.

Of the other options, 145 said they were pagans and seven 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.”