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New Book

Civil religion in the UK, Canada, Australia and the Commonwealth

By Norman Bonney,
Manchester University Press, October 2013

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Friday, 27 September 2013

Religion north and south of the border - 2011 census results. A bare Christian majority in Scotland

For the second consecutive time a religion question was included in the decennial censuses.

Scotland, like England and Wales, continues to have a Christian majority - but only just. 

The questions are different north and south of the border. The Scottish one which asks people to respond to the question 'What religion, religious denomination or body do you belong to?'.seems to require a stronger commitment to a denomination in an answer. In Scotland, as well, three alternatives are provided for the Christian category. The English question is what is your religion? 

In Scotland 54% said they were Christian - in contrast to England and Wales where the figure was 59%

The Christian percentage share of the population fell by 17% 2001-2011 both north and south of the border

If this rate of change continues Scotland will have less than half the population as Christian sometime in 2014. 

‘No-religion’ increasing

Respondents indicating they have no religion are increasing - in 2011 37% in Scotland, 25% in England. The rate of increase in population share in the ten years between censuses for this group was 36% in England and Wales and 32% in Scotland.

Religion is less diverse in Scotland. Non Christian religions in England and Wales constitute 8.4% of the population - in Scotland the equivalent figure is 2.5%. The Christian/non-Christian ratio is 7:1 in England and Wales and 21:1 in Scotland.

Muslims are the largest non-Christian religion in both countries - 4.8% in England and Wales and 1.4% in Scotland.