THE decline in the proportion of British people who identify as
Anglican has accelerated in the past decade, new analysis from
NatCen statisticians suggests.
The proportion who say they are Anglican in the British Social
Attitudes survey has fallen from 40 per cent in 1983 to 17 per cent
in 2014. In the past decade, the proportion has fallen by
two-fifths: from 28 per cent in 2004.
The researchers say that the survey results suggest that the
number of Anglicans has fallen by as many as 4.5 million over the
past ten years, from about 13 million to 8.5 million.
The biggest group remains those who say they have no religion:
49 per cent, up from 43 per cent in 2004 and 31 per cent in
Other Christian denominations have remained stable over the past
30 years. Roman Catholics make up eight per cent of the sample,
down from ten per cent in 1983. The "Other Christian" sector has
remained static at 17 per cent.
The proportion who identify as Muslim has grown from about 0.5
per cent in 1983 to five per cent in 2014.
The 2014 survey consisted of 2878 interviews with a
"representative, random sample of adults in Britain". Naomi Jones,
head of social attitudes at NatCen Social Research, said: "One
explanation for this might be that the numbers of Catholic and
non-Christian people in Britain may have been supplemented by
migrants with strong religious beliefs.
"Another explanation could be that, in the past, religion played
a more prominent role in people's identity. We know from recent
NatCen research that people are less likely than in previous years
to see being Christian as an important component of being
"Therefore, fewer British people may feel that the Church of
England is an important part of their identity nowadays."
A C of E spokesperson said: "The comprehensive 2011 Census
showed that almost 60 per cent of people in the UK identified as
Christian. The Church of England continues to be an active presence
in every community, supporting foodbanks, debt-advice centres,
clubs for children and young people, and many more activities along
with regular Christian worship.
"The Church is currently consulting on a process of both renewal
and reform led by the Archbishops which seeks to join in with the
work of God in growing his Church."