John Bingham reports …
Christians will be a minority in the UK by the middle of this century amid surging growth in atheism and Islam, an authoritative new study charting the future of the world’s religions predicts.
According to projections by the US-based Pew Research Centre, the proportion of the British population identifying themselves as Christian will reduce by almost a third by 2050 to stand at just 45.4 per cent, compared with almost two thirds in 2010.
The number of Muslims in Britain is predicted to more than double to 11.3 per cent, or one in nine of the total population during that time.
But the reports predicts that biggest change in the religious make-up of Britain in the next three and a half decades will be a major expansion in the number of non-religious people.
They would account for just under 39 per cent, challenging Christians as the biggest faith community in the UK.
The predictions mirror analysis from the most recent UK census which saw the number of children growing up as Muslims in the UK almost double in a decade while the number of people describing themselves as non-religious also jumped dramatically.
If the projections, which are based on official population figures, birth rates and immigration estimates from around the world, are borne out, it could amount to the most significant religious realignment in Britain since the arrival of Christianity.
It would mean that by 2050 Britain would have the third largest Muslim community, as a share of the population, in Europe, overtaking France, Germany, Belgium and a handful of other countries.