This bulletin looks at the topic summary data from the 2021 Census for England and Wales about the religion of usual residents and household religious composition. The data was published on 29 November 2022 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It provides unrounded population and household estimates at North Wales and unitary authority level.
The census introduced a voluntary question on religion in 2001. In the census data, religion refers to a person’s religious affiliation. This is the religion with which they connect or identify, rather than their beliefs or active religious practice.
- In North Wales there was a significant increase between 2011 and 2021 in the number and proportion of people who said they had no religion. This was balanced by a significant decrease in those who identified as Christian.
- In 2021, 286,722 usual residents reported that they had no religion. This was 41.7% of the population and was a significant increase from 26.9% in 2011. The proportion was highest in Gwynedd at 44.2% and lowest in Flintshire and Anglesey at 40.7%.
- Across Wales as a whole more people reported they had no religion (46.5%) than any single religious affiliation. For England and Wales the percentage was 37.2%.
- The proportion of people who identified as Christian was 49.8% or 341,972 people. This was a significant decrease since 2011 (63.9%). The proportion was highest in Flintshire and Anglesey at 51.5% and lowest in Gwynedd at 46.2%. Denbighshire and Wrexham also had less than half of the population identifying as Christian. (Wales in 2021 = 43.6% and England and Wales = 46.2%).
- The population of North Wales is less religiously diverse than national averages. A total of 12,353 people or 1.8% of the population identified with a religion other than Christian. This compares to 3.6% for Wales and 10.6% for England and Wales as a whole.
- In 2021 this included 0.8% of the population who identified as Muslim (5,326 usual residents) which was the second largest religion. The proportion was highest in Wrexham at 1.1% and lowest in Flintshire and Anglesey at 0.5%. (Wales in 2021 = 2.2% and England and Wales = 6.5%).
- There was little change from 2011 in the proportions of the population identifying with religious groups other than Christian for North Wales as a whole or for individual unitary authority areas.
- 2021 Census: first results
- 2021 Census: demography & migration
- 2021 Census: UK armed forces veterans
- 2021 Census: ethnic group
- 2021 Census: main language
- 2021 Census: education
- 2021 Census: sexual orientation and gender identity
The ONS has also published Religion, England and Wales: Census 2021 in England and Wales which includes some data down to output area.
North Wales Regional Innovation Coordination Hub
Phone: 01824 712432