Church of England numbers at record low as people turn back on Anglican religion

David Harding
Just 14 per cent of people identify as Anglican (PA)

Fears have been raised over the future of the Church of England as fewer people than ever identify as Anglican, according to a new survey.

Just 14 per cent of people – one in seven – identify themselves as Anglican, according to data from the British Social Attitudes Survey.

And even worse for the church, the figures show that they no longer rely on older worshippers or the middle-aged to fill the pews.

The study reveals that in 1983, 40 per cent of Britons said they ‘belonged’ to the Anglican faith.

That figure fell to 31 per cent by 2002 and now stands at 14 per cent.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby (PA)

That figure fell to 31 per cent by 2002 and now stands at 14 per cent.

Among 45 to 54-year-olds, the fall has been the most marked. In 2002, 35 per cent of people in this group identified as Anglican but by 2017 that number had dropped to 11 per cent.

The sharp drop in numbers means fears will be raised over the long-term future of the Church of England and its prominent role.


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More than half of the population now say they have no religion, an increase from 41 per cent 16 years ago.

‘We’ve got every reason to suspect that by and large the young people with no religion today in their twenties and thirties will become, in time, people in their fifties and sixties with no religion,’ said Roger Harding, head of public attitudes at the National Centre for Social Research, said.

‘It suggests that particularly for the Church of England and Church of Scotland, their decreasing numbers aren’t going to be corrected with people getting older. It’s likely that as people get older they’ll continue to have no religion.’

However, the Church of England insisted that young people were still open to faith, and its work was relevant.

‘The headline figure here only gives us part of the picture,’ Dave Male, the Church of England’s director of evangelism and discipleship, told the Telegraph.