Census shows changing face of religion over past decade
THE number of Christians in Torbay has fallen at the same time as a sharp rise in the proportion classifying themselves as having 'no religion'.
The changing face of religion over the past decade was detailed in the latest batch of figures to be released from the 2011 Census.
Out of a population of 130,959, people in Torbay described themselves as the following:
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No religion 35,535
Religion not stated 10,110
Jedi Knight 500
Mixed religion 70
Own belief system six
New Age four
Native American Church two
In line with the wider national trend, the number of people declaring themselves Christian — including Church of England, Catholic and all other Christian denominations — was 63.3 per per cent in Torbay and 61.5 per cent in Devon.
This compares to 59.8 per cent in Cornwall and 58.1 per cent in Plymouth.
But the figures were higher 10 years earlier.
The share of the Torbay population stating they were Christian in 2001 was 76.2 per cent, meaning the 2011 figure is down 12.9 per cent points.
Devon was 74.8 per cent, a fall of 13.3 per cent points. Cornwall and Plymouth saw dips of 14.5 and 15.4 respectively. At the same time, the number of people declaring they had 'no religion' was up 12.6 per centpoints in Torbay.
The figures on religion were seized upon by secular campaigners who had urged people to tick the 'no religion' box when they filled out the census.
Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said: "This is a really significant cultural shift.
"In spite of a biased question that positively encourages religious responses, to see such an increase in the non-religious and such a decrease in those reporting themselves as Christian is astounding."