In winter 2022, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) began to release data from the 2021 Census at small enough area levels to enable these data to be transformed onto our ecclesiastical deanery boundaries. Scroll down the page for analysis or experiment with the Excel data set. We will add to this page as further data sets become available.
"The banner headline in the i newspaper read ‘UK Christians in minority for first time since the Dark Ages’. According to the Census 2021 figures, less that half the UK population identify as Christian for the first time in 1,500 years. We were expecting the outcome of the Census. We know that we are becoming more diverse as a society, but the figure is significant, a timely reminder of the challenges we face and something of a call to action.
"The Census results lead us back to our central calling to witness to the love of God in word and in action: to be a more Christ-like Church for the sake of God’s world. They lead us, I hope, into a deeper encounter with God in Christ, and they encourage us to place a greater emphasis on sharing our faith in different ways in the coming years with love and with confidence. All too often in my experience, a focus on statistics tips the Church into endless conversations about scarcity and spirals of decline instead of leading to a focus on Christ and on the good news."
– Bishop Steven's address to Area Deans and Lay Chairs, 28 January 2023
The first data released were of general population data by gender and household type. These are shown below by Archdeaconry. All four archdeaconries saw an increase in population between the 2011 and 2021 Censuses. In all archdeaconries, females outnumbered males.
In all archdeaconries ‘Christian’ was the largest religion stated. Oxford archdeaconry had the largest proportion on people stating ‘no religion’ and, with Buckingham, had the largest proportions of people giving their religion as Muslim.
One interest in the diocese is of Presence and Engagement parishes, that is those that have a population of 10% or more of faiths other than Christianity. Currently we do not have parish data by religion from the 2021 Census, but an analysis by deanery for the P&E committee showed that eight deaneries in our diocese had more than 10% of their resident population of other faiths: five in Buckingham, two in Berkshire and one in Oxford. Burnham deanery had the largest proportion at 42%, including 23% Muslim and 11 % Sikh and 7% Hindu. The other seven deaneries had between 12% and 17% of other faiths, the majority being Muslim.