The proportion of the total population who see themselves as belonging to a particular religion has been on the decline – from around two-thirds (65%) back in the mid-1980s to just over half (53%) by 2011. That’s not particularly surprising or new – the Census figures released last year show a similar decline, although differences in the question mean the proportions are different.
This is quite a fall – the sort of change that would raise concern for the long-term survival of religious attachment. This decline, however, is almost entirely related to changes in the generational make-up of the population, similar to the patterns we’ve seen with political attachment.
As with political identification, there is very flat affiliation with a religion within each generation over time – and each has a lower level of religious attachment than their elders. But having said that, the gaps between generations are getting successively smaller, so