Christianity will always be relevant and essential to our society

Despite the decline shown in the latest census figures, practicing Christians are essential to our society and fulfil a key role, says the Evangelical Alliance.

Identifying as a Christian is moving from being a cultural label to showing those who actively follow Jesus. Results from the 2021 Census show that nominal Christianity has continued to decline in England and Wales (a drop from 59.3% in 2011 to 46.2% in 2021). The numbers are supported by the Talking Jesus research released earlier this year which showed 48% of the UK population identified as Christian. But that same research shows that the percentage of practicing Christians remains largely unchanged in recent years.

Rev Gavin Calver, CEO of the Evangelical Alliance says, “Being a Christian is increasingly understood as following Jesus and not merely a cultural or historic label. Despite the decline, Christianity remains by far the largest religion in the UK and we know the number of practicing Christians has stayed consistent.

“Followers of Jesus, who regularly pray and worship together in church, are passionately sharing their faith and meeting the needs of others whether through food banks, debt counselling or providing a warm welcome during the cost of living crisis. Christianity will always be relevant and essential to our society.”

Danny Webster, director of advocacy, says, “Christianity has historically provided the scaffolding on which our society has flourished. It has laid the foundations for justice, human rights, equality, democracy and the dignity of every human life. While fewer people may choose to hold the label today, the Christian church continues to serve those struggling in our communities, meeting needs and bringing hope.

“The church is the largest volunteering network in the UK, active in public life, serving every community in the UK. The decline in census figures does not diminish the impact of essential contributions practicing Christians make every day to our society, and should never be a foil for limiting the role of Christians and the Christian faith in public life.”

Notes to editors

Available for interview:

  • Gavin Calver – CEO
  • Danny Webster – Director of advocacy
  • Peter Lynas – UK director
  • Jo Frost – Director of communications and engagement

Contact: Nicola Morrison (editorial and media manager), [email protected] or 020 7520 3861

Talking Jesus, research by Savanta ComRes surveyed 4,000 people earlier in 2022. It showed that 48% of people identified as Christian – very similar results to the census. This reflected a 10% drop from 2015. However, the number of practicing Christians has stayed reasonably consistent, now standing at 6% of the population. A practicing Christian was defined as someone who worships regularly (at least monthly) as part of a church community and prays and reads the Bible at least weekly.

A quarter of practicing Christians are from black and non-white ethnic minority groups, which has increased to 18.3% of the UK population according to this latest release.

More information on Talking Jesus can be found here and here.

About the Evangelical Alliance

We are the Evangelical Alliance. We join together hundreds of organisations, thousands of churches and tens of thousands of individuals for the sake of the gospel. Representing our members since 1846, the Evangelical Alliance is the oldest and largest evangelical unity movement in the UK.

We love Jesus and we want everyone in the UK to be given an opportunity to know Him.

We love His church, and we will do all we can to unite evangelicals, building confidence in the gospel and speaking as a trusted voice into society to see it changed for Him.

Working across the UK, with offices in London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast, our members come together from across denominations, locations, age groups and ethnicities, all sharing a passion to know Jesus and make Him known.