London: New census data has been released in UK and it has some new facts:
-Islam is the fastest growing religion in UK -Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity -Indians are the largest ethnic minority -Christianity is on rapid decline.
The census is held every 10 years in UK and the latest was conducted in 2011, whose results were made public this week. The facts are based on how people identify themselves in terms of religion and racial ethnicity. Although it is contested that not everyone may be what they identify themselves as especially when it comes to racial ethnicity.
The census was based on 56.07 million people, and 33.7 million people identified them as Christians, whereas the number of self-identifying Muslims rose to 2.7 million, that is a rise from 3% to 4.8% of the population in last 10 years.
The Muslim Council of Britain has welcomed the result, saying Muslims were playing â€œa significant part in the increasing diversity of Britain.â€ Islamâ€™s 2.7 million adherents make it the second-largest religion in England and Wales, far ahead of Hinduism (817,000), Sikhism (423,000), Buddhism (248,000) and Judaism (263,000). The other fringe religions are pagan, pantheist, wiccan, satanist, druid, â€œJedi Knightâ€ and others.
This comes after the latest U.S. Religion Census that was released on May 1, 2012, which also found Islam as the fastest growing religion in America. The data for the census was compiled by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, and the results were released by the Association of Religion Data Archives. From the year 2000 to the year 2010, the census found that the number of Muslims living inside the United States increased by about 1 million to 2.6 million â€“ a stunning increase of 66.7 percent.
Thus Islam is the fastest growing religion in both US and UK according to the latest census reports announced this year. No wonder Barack Obama had recently said â€™we are no longer a Christian countryâ€™. He wasnâ€™t much off the mark.
The biggest surprise of UK census was the phenomenal increase of people who said they do not follow any religion and they increased from 7.7 million to 14.4 million almost doubling in last decade, which means more then quarter of people identify themselves as adhering to no religion. The assumption is that majority of these people identified earlier as Christians. This resulted in decrease in Christianâ€™s population from 7r% to 59% in last decade alone.
In the U.S., by contrast, a 2007 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey found 16.1 percent of respondents identified as â€œunaffiliatedâ€ with any particular religion.
Major Christian denomination put up a brave face saying that most of the people who identified as Christians are practising one rather than the ones who associate themselves as â€˜cultural christiansâ€™.
The results of the UK 2011 census released this week apply to England and Wales only. Separate data from Scotland will be published shortly.