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Research points to sharp decline in faith in Britain

By: Jenna Lyle

Saturday, 19 December 2009

According to the National Centre for Social Research, the number of people in Britain describing themselves as Christian has fallen by 16 per cent in the last 25 years.


New research from the National Centre for Social Research paints a bleak picture of declining faith in Britain.

The survey of more than 4,000 people across Britain found that the number of people describing themselves as Christian has dropped in the last 25 years from 66 per cent to 50 per cent.

NatCen said the drop was due largely to the steady decline in numbers belonging to the Church of England, with only 23 per cent of those surveyed describing themselves as Anglican today in comparison to 40 per cent of the population in 1983.

The survey found that even among those describing themselves as Anglican, half said they never attended church at all and less than one fifth said they attended church once a month.

While the Church of England has experienced a sizeable drop in attendance, non-Christian faiths have seen a small increase in affiliation, from two per cent to seven per cent. NatCen said immigration and population growth amongst ethnic minorities had contributed to the growth.

The number of Britons saying that they do not belong to any particular faith rose from 31 per cent in 1983 to 43 per cent today.

NatCen also conducted the survey in the US, where it found ties to religious faith to be far stronger than in Britain.

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