New analysis shows that the number of people identifying as having no religion rose sharply between 2011 and 2014 from 25% to 48.5%. This means that, for the first time ever in England and Wales, people with no religious beliefs outnumber Christians, who make up 43.8% of the population when all denominations are included. The sharp decline in religious affiliation as noted in the British Social Attitudes survey over the last thirty years, is likely to further disconcert leaders of organised religion. However, the survey has also highlighted some interesting regional differences, with inner London actually possessing the lowest number of people with no religious affiliation. Indeed, the Church of England argues that the world is actually become more religious and the lack of religious belief in the UK reflects its growing diversity and plurality.
Students applying to read Theology should consider the interesting questions this raises about the role of religion in an increasingly secular age and the options available to religious leaders to tackle falling congregation sizes.
Those hoping to study HSPS may wish to consider the declining religious affiliation in England and Wales in a sociological terms and the effect of immigration on changes in religious belief.
Politics applicants may wish to consider whether the Church of England should be disestablished if it is failing to represent a plurality of the population and the constitutional consequences this may entail.