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Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2494

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Survey: More than half of Britons say they no longer belong to a religion


More than half of the people in Britain say they no longer belong to a religion, a survey has found.

A total of 53 per cent of 2,942 adults interviewed for the British Social Attitudes survey said they had “no religion”, according to data released by the National Centre for Social Research.

The figures, covering 2016, is up from 48 per cent in 2015. The centre said in its press release  the data reveals that the proportion of people in Britain who describe themselves as having no religion is at its “highest ever level”.

The proportion of non-believers has increased gradually since the survey began in 1983 when the proportion saying they had no religion stood at 31 per cent.

Most of the decline in religious affiliation has been among people who previously belonged to the Church of England.

The survey found that 15 per cent of people in Britain consider themselves to be Anglican, compared to about 30 per cent in 2000.

The proportion of people who say they are Catholic has remained consistent, however, at about one in 10, for the past three decades.

About one in 20 people (six per cent) belong to non-Christian religions, an increase of two per cent since 1983.

Unbelief among the young was the highest with seven in 10 (71 per cent) of people aged 18-24 saying they had no religion, a rise from 62 per cent in 2015.

Last week, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury announced the launch of a Youth Mission Team to reach out to young people in parishes and secondary schools.

Roger Harding, the head of public attitudes at the national centre, said the increase in non-believers “follows the long-term trend of more and more of us not being religious”.

“The differences by age are stark and with so many younger people not having a religion it’s hard to see this change abating any time soon,” he said.

“The falls in those belonging to the Church of England are the most notable, but these figures should cause all religious leaders to pause for thought,” he added.


(Photo by Marcin Mazur, Catholic Communicatons Network)