September 6, 2018 / 11:16 PM / 16 days ago

Church of England numbers in Britain are at record low - survey

LONDON (Reuters) - The number of Britons who describe themselves as belonging to the Church of England has fallen to a record low with more than half now saying they have no religion, according to a survey published on Friday.

Canterbury Cathedral is seen in Canterbury, southern Britain, January 15, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Just 14 percent of Britons identified themselves as Church of England, down from 31 percent 15 years ago, the British Social Attitudes survey found. The number saying they had no religion rose from 41 to 52 percent.

Church of Scotland numbers also fell from 31 percent in 2002 to 18 percent.

“Our figures show an unrelenting decline in Church of England and Church of Scotland numbers,” said Roger Harding, Head of Public Attitudes at the National Centre for Social Research.

“This is especially true for young people where less than one in 20 now belong to their established church. While the figures are starkest among younger people, in every age group the biggest single group are those identifying with no religion.”

The sharpest decline in those saying they were Church of England was among 45 to 54-year-olds while 70 percent of those aged between 18 and 24 said they had no religion, according to the survey, based on 3,988 interviews.

However, the research found that the number of Britons who described themselves as Roman Catholic (8 percent), of ‘other Christian affiliations’ (10 percent), and non-Christian faiths (8 percent) had remained fairly stable.

Roman Catholics also went to church more regularly, with 42 percent attending at least once a month compared to 21 percent of Church of England members.

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison

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