The decline over the past few years in the number of British citizens identifying themselves as Christians has been reversed, according to a report today.
The as-yet-unpublished results of the 2016 British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, seen by the Sunday Telegraph, reveals that the overall proportion of Britons who described themselves as Christian rose one percentage point in the last year from 42 per cent to 43 per cent.
The rise corresponds with a one-point fall in the number of so-called “nones” – those who describe themselves as having no religion – from 49 per cent to 48 per cent.
The variations may be fairly small to be regarded as statistically significant in themselves but indicate a reversal of a trend over the years which has seen a decline in Christianity.
Ian Simpson, senior researcher at NatCen Social Research, which carries out the annual BSA survey, said the findings did indicate at least a temporary “halt” in the decline of religion in Britain.
He told the newspaper, “The proportion of people saying they have no religion peaked at 51 per cent in 2009 and has plateaued since then.
“It appears that the steady decline of religion in Britain has come to a halt, at least for now. This is partly due to a stabilisation in the proportion of people describing themselves as a Christian of some kind, since 2009.
“However, this also appears to mask a small increase in the number of those with a non-Christian religion offsetting a small decrease in the number of Anglicans,” he said.
There was a three-point fall in the number of adults under 25 identifying themselves as non-believers, the new survey found.
“No religion” became the biggest faith group in the survey seven years ago, when it reached 51 per cent of respondents but has since drifted lower.
The proportion describing themselves as Christian now stands at the same level as it was seven years ago.