i Editor's Letter: 2011's Census findings are fascinating


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The Independent Online


The fascinating second batch of findings from the 2011 Census (also addressed by Simon Kelner) demands closer scrutiny and will prove fertile ground for analysis this week and beyond.

Its key finding is less any one specific figure, more how globalisation is now having a dramatic impact on the demographic mix of England and Wales. Some places, formerly almost entirely homogeneous and monocultural, like Boston, Lincolnshire, are suddenly not so.

Clearly, the big changes are the increase in the numbers of people born abroad, and the new mix of population – most notably the arrival of Poles as the second most numerous grouping, behind Indians but ahead of Pakistanis.

Perhaps the other significant finding is that we are becoming a less religious nation, with 25 per cent of us now claiming no religion, six million more than 10 years ago. We are also a less Christian one at 33 million (12 per cent down over the same period). This, despite an increasing population (7 per cent up to 56.1 million), half of which is down to immigration.

There are fewer Christians but more Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jews – although with the exception of 2.7 million Muslims, no other faith has over a million devotees.

You will all draw your own conclusions, but in the wake of the women bishops debacle and the exclusion of gays from marriage in the established Church, it is surely obvious to all outside (and many inside) the CofE that such arcane debates turn off so many who might be seeking a welcoming and inclusive Church that not only preaches equality, but practises it.