Losing Their Religion as a Third of Population Admit to Having None

Article excerpt

NEARLY a third of people in Wales now say they have no religion, with the country seeing a bigger rise in this category than any English region. The number of people saying they have no religion has grown from 538,000, 19%, in 2001 to 983,000, 32%, in 2011.

The country has seen a corresponding drop in the proportion of people who describe themselves as Christian, from 71.9% of the population to 57.6%.

Some of the least religious parts of England and Wales are in the South Wales Valleys, with Blaenau Gwent coming third, Caerphilly, fourth, and Rhondda Cynon Taf, fifth.

National Secular Society president Terry Sanderson said: "Such an enormous reversal in the space of 10 years is an indication of the huge upheaval there has been in religious attitudes in Britain."

He said the figures should serve as a warning to churches that their increasingly conservative attitudes were not playing well with the public at large.

A spokeswoman from the Church in Wales said: "These statistics show that Christianity is no longer the default setting it once was for many people in Wales. However, the reasons for this are complex. Today we find people go to church because they want to, not because they feel they have to or because it's the place to see and be seen. …