Fewer residents of Burnley identify as Christian, Census 2021 shows

Fewer people identify as Christian and more people are non-religious in Burnley 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.

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Office for National Statistics data from the 2021 census shows 48% of people in Burnley selected Christianity as their religion, down significantly from 64% in the last survey a decade before.

ONS figures from the 2021 census show 48% of people in Burnley selected Christianity as their religion, down significantly from 64% 10 years earlier

About 31% selected "no religion" last year, a leap from 20% in 2011.

Of these, 32 people said they were agnostic, while 14 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’s the first time the proportion has dropped below half.

And the percentage of people saying they had no religion jumped from around a quarter in 2011 to over a third 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.

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The figures show more people in Burnley identify as Muslim, with 13,255 selecting the religion last year, up from 8,580 in 2011.

Additionally, 174 residents said they were Hindu in the survey, down from 175 10 years ago.

There were 227 Buddhists and 33 residents who selected Judaism.

Of the other options, 97 said they were pagans and 17 said they practice Heathenism.

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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.