Published on Friday, 31 May 2013 06:11Written by Soeren Kern
The moment that the white British become a minority will symbolize a huge transfer of power -- culturalpolitical, economic and religious -- an "irreversible change in British society, unprecedented for at least amillennium."
David Coleman, Professor of Demography, University of Oxford
Islam is on track to become the dominant religion in Britain within the next generation, accordingto new census data published by the British government.The numbers show that although Christianity is still the main religion in Britain -- over 50% of thepopulation describe themselves as such -- nearly half of all Christians in Britain are over the ageof 50, and, for the first time ever, fewer than half under the age of 25 describe themselves asChristian.By contrast, the number of people under 25 who describe themselves as Muslim has doubled over the past ten years: one in ten under the age of 25 are Muslim, up from one in 20 in 2001.If current trends continue -- a Muslim population boom, combined with an aging Christiandemographic and the increasing secularization of British natives -- Islam is set to overtakeChristianity in Britain within the next 20 years, according to demographers.
A new report published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on May 16 offers additional
analyses of the 2011 census data previously published in December 2012.
In the 2011 Census, Christianity was still the largest religious group in England and Wales with33.2 million people (59% of the population). The second largest religious group was Islam with 2.7million people (5% of the population). The proportion of people who reported that they did nothave a religion reached 14.1 million people, a quarter of the population (25%).Although the overall population of England and Wales grew by 3.7 million between 2001 and 2011to reach 56.1 million, in 2011, there were 4.1 million fewer people who reported being Christian(from 72% to 59% of the population). By contrast, 1.2 million more people reported being Muslim(from 3% to 5%), and 6.4 million more people reported no religion (from 15% to 25%).The new report, however, shows that the number of British Christians is actually falling at a far faster rate than previously thought. The earlier analysis of the statistics showed a roughly 15%decline in the number of Christians over the past decade, but the ONS found that this figure hadbeen artificially influenced by the recent arrival of Christian immigrants from countries such asNigeria and Poland.According to the new report, the number of white British Christians actually fell by 5.8 millionpeople between 2001 and 2011; this decline was masked by an increase in the number of Christians not born in Britain during that same period, but who were there due to immigration.In the 2011 Census, Christians had the oldest age profile of the main religious groups. Over one infive Christians (22%) were aged 65 and over, and nearly one in two (43%) were aged 50 and over;only one quarter (25.5%) were under the age of 25.By contrast, Muslims had the youngest age profile of the main religious groups. Nearly half of Muslims (48%) were aged under 25 (1.3 million) and nine in ten (88%) were aged under 50 (2.4million).