Figures from the 2021 Census show 25 people in the Sunderland City Council area describing themselves as Satanist, the 16th most popular definition, compared to just seven who follow the religion espoused by Hollywood Top Gun Tom Cruise, who came in 19th place.
‘Christian’ was the number one choice, with 145,806 people describing themselves as such, followed by 108,117 people checking ‘No religion’.
Muslim came third, with 4,846 people describing themselves as such, while the decline of Sunderland’s Jewish population is illustrated by the category chosen by only 87 people.
There were 59 Wiccans, six people described their religious beliefs as ‘Witchcraft’ and three people chose ‘Own belief system’. Sunderland has only six self-proclaimed Rastafarians and not a single member of the Unification Church.
Ten most popular religious definitions in Sunderland:
Christian – 145,806 No religion – 108,117 Muslim – 4,846 Sikh – 915 Hindu – 611 Buddhist – 539 Pagan – 253 Other religion – 166 Spiritualist – 142 Jewish – 87
Nationally, less than half of the population of England and Wales identify as Christian for the first time, prompting a reconsideration of the role of religion in society.
Christian is still the most popular religious category in Sunderland
About 46.2% of the population described themselves as Christian on the day of the 2021 census, up from 59.3% in 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
It’s the first time the stock has fallen below half.
In the same period, the percentage of people who say they have no religion has risen from 25.2% to more than a third in 2021 (37.2%).
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This was the second most common response and the number ticking this box has almost tripled since 2001.
The Archbishop of York said the decline in the number of people identifying as Christian was “not a big surprise” but acknowledged it “presents a challenge”.
The Most Rev. Stephen Cottrell said, “We have left behind the era where many people almost automatically identified as Christians, but other surveys consistently show how the same people are still searching for spiritual truth and wisdom and a set of values to live by. to live.”
Humanists UK, which campaigned ahead of the two most recent censuses to encourage non-religious people to tick the “no religion” box, said the result should be a “wake-up call” that prompts to new reconsiderations of the role of religion in society”.
Read the full report here.