A new study has found a shocking increase in the percentage of individuals in England and Wales who say that they have no religious affiliation, with that proportion jumping from 25 percent in 2011 to a stunning 48.5 percent in 2014.
The data, which came from an analysis of British Social Attitudes surveys that have been conducted each year since 1983, found that 43.8 percent of the population fell under the Christian umbrella in 2014, affiliating as Anglicans, Catholics or with other denominations.
Overall, there have been some major declines among various faith cohorts.
"Anglicans have suffered the biggest declines: from 44.5 percent in 1983 to 19.0 percent in 2014," reads the new report titled, "Contemporary Catholicism in England and Wales." "The Catholic population, however, has remained relatively steady throughout this period."
Dr. Stephen Bullivant, a theology and ethics professor at St. Mary's Catholic University in Twickenham, United Kingdom, who conducted the research concluded that the increase in "nones" — those who embrace no official religion — is "striking," according to the Guardian.
"The striking thing is the clear sense of the growth of ‘no religion’ as a proportion of the population," Bullivant told the outlet. "The main driver is people who were brought up with some religion now saying they have no religion. What we’re seeing is an acceleration in the numbers of people not only not practising their faith on a regular basis, but not even ticking the box."
The reason for this latter sentiment isn't immediately clear, as sociologists continue to explore the issue.
Bullivant implored churches to take the data "very seriously," as he believes that it could help religious groups bridge divides.
Read the report in its entirety here.
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