On 29 November, new data from the 2021 Census for England and Wales was released to the public. This release contains ethnic group, national identity, language, and religion data for those living in England and Wales.
Some of the key takeaways from the release include:
- For the first time ever in a census of England and Wales, fewer than half of the population (46.2%) described themselves as ‘Christian’. This represented a 13.1 percentage point decrease from the previous census in 2011 (down from 59.3%).
- While ‘Christian’ remained the largest religious group, ‘No religion’ was the second largest group, increasing from 25.2% in 2011 to 37.2% in the 2021 census. The percentage of people describing themselves as ‘Muslim’ also increased (from 4.9% in 2011 to 6.5% in 2021), as did the percentage identifying as ‘Hindu’ (from 1.5% in 2011 to 1.7% in 2021).
- Those indicating their ethnic group as ‘White’ declined from 86% in the 2011 census to 81.7% in 2021. The second largest ethnic group in the 2021 census was ‘Asian, Asian British or Asian Welsh’, accounting for 9.3% of the population.
- There was a significant rise in the percentage of people choosing a ‘British only’ national identity, increasing from 19.1% in 2011 to 54.8% in the 2021 census. Those choosing an ‘English only’ identity fell from 57.7% in 2011 to just 14.9% in 2021. Although some of this change may be genuine, it may also reflect a change in the question structure.