The Bishop of Norwich insists it is “doubtful” the city is the least religious in the country - despite new figures showing more than 55,000 residents have no religion.

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Census 2011 data released yesterday ranked Norwich first for the highest percentage of people in England and Wales who declared they had no religion.

The city is home to 59,515 Christians, or 44.9pc, 2,612 Muslims, 1,017 Hindus, and 10,827 people who chose not to state their religion.

But 42.5pc of the 132,512 respondents said they had no religion.

There are also 783 people who classify their religion as Jedi Knights, 11 people who believe in Satanism, two Scientologists and one person pursuing Realism.

A further 65 people declared their religion as “heavy metal” - making Norwich the heavy metal religion hotspot of England and Wales.

But despite the results, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, said the city is a “centre of vibrant Christianity”.

He said: “The cathedral is seeing hundreds of worshippers every day during December and will welcome thousands on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

“There are many other sizeable or growing churches in Norwich in all denominations.

“More than that, the homeless, those dependent on drugs and alcohol, women in prostitution, or young people seeking advice and those hungry in the streets have all benefited from the work of Christian agencies established in recent years and supported by the churches here. Norwich Foodbank is one of the most recent and most needed.

“So it seems doubtful that Norwich is a less religious place than anywhere else in the country. It would not have above average churchgoing rates if that was the case.

“But it may be a place where the vibrant presence of the churches means that people have to make up their minds about faith more definitely. And that’s no bad thing.”

Norfolk as a whole has 523,163 Christians out of 857,888 respondents, 5,021 Muslims and 2,901 Buddhists. The heavy metal contingent stands at 122 across Norfolk while the Jedi Knights have 3,052 followers.

The average percentage of people in England and Wales who declared they have no religion is 25.1.

Keith Morris, publisher of www.networknorfolk.co.uk, which reports on the Christian community, added he found the Norwich figures surprising, with 94,000 different people visiting the site in the last 12 months.

He said: “Every week we report on a huge range of activities of vibrant churches across our area and Christian projects serving the most vulnerable such as the homeless, the hungry and those suffering from dependency on drugs and alcohol.

“We have literally hundreds of churches listed on our site across Norwich and Norfolk, most of them very active in their communities.”

Adrian Cooke, Norwich Sound and Vision festival director, said the statistics showed the people of Norwich had a sense of humour when it came to celebrating their passion for music.

He said: “I think there has always been a heavy metal scene not just in the city but in the county.

“On the one hand, people in Norwich have got a good sense of humour and the other thing is music is taken quite seriously in Norwich.

“It’s quite important to people. I think metal fans are quite committed and it’s probably a way of life.

“I wouldn’t have said Norwich had a stronger rock or metal scene than elsewhere in the country.”

The census figures reveal 51,978 out of 110,805 people in Norwich are classified as single - either having never married or never registered a same-sex partnership.

A further 37,036 are married, 300 people in same-sex civil partnerships, 11,909 divorced and 6,753 widowed.

Norwich is ranked as 21st for the most number of people who have not married and 20th for the number of divorces.

Great Yarmouth is listed as the ninth highest for divorces, with 9,066 people out of 79,748.

Yarmouth is also ranked second nationally for the most number of people without passports. There are 28,133 people, or 28.9pc, without passports, while North Norfolk is ranked sixth with 27.4pc of its population, or 27,852 people, without the documentation to allow foreign travel. The average figure without a passport in England and Wales is 16.9pc.

North Norfolk is also home to the oldest population nationally, with a median average age of 51. Norwich’s average age is 34, Breckland’s 44, Broadland’s 45, Yarmouth’s 43, West Norfolk’s 45 and South Norfolk’s 45. The average for England and Wales is 39.

19 comments

  • It is a fact that more people are becoming atheists. This is a good thing as it shows people are thinking and not being led by bronze age myth makers. The teachings of religion are immoral and depraved.

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    NorthStarRaven

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

  • And this makes the news? whilst the greyhound opening disaster, now in its fourth year, is seemingly of no relevance to our eager reporters. Harry Rabinowitz, maybe God was confused by all the different massacres that happened and are still happening.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

  • Who else would elect people as despicable as Chloe and Simon?

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

  • Not everyone who visits the cathedral or churches are religious.

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    Cuthbert J. Twillie

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

  • As a heavy metal loving Jedi Knight with atheistic leanings,it just goes to show how accurate these figures are! If I ever met God I would have a few searching questions like "why did you not intervene in the holocaust?" At the end of the day God is an invention of man and religion as Karl Marx said " is the opiate of the masses"

    Report this comment

    Harry Rabinowitz

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

  • look back at the last census . Fifty eight per cent of people in london were white british . Now its down to 44 per cent.The future is to be seen in the latest figures

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

  • It's quite simple really. we're more afraid of that fool Murphy than we are The Almighty. Whilst I acknowledge that God is everywhere the Lord of the Fires (well, incinerators at least) is our very own Omnipotence (or is that Incompetence?)

    Report this comment

    ThePresence

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

  • Securialism might decribe it but secularism better.

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    Peter Watson

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

  • the census also revealed that british people are a minority in the capital london

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

  • shirley, you mean Londonistan milex???fast forward 20 years time and Britain will be one of most crowded places in the modern world, which will then probably descend into a mad max scenario, where 'gangsta's' replace the royal family and the armed forces.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

  • Taken at face value,the figures show the Cathedrals and other places of worship are more important to people who live outside Norwich than to those who live within.Securalism seems popular.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

  • Oh Lucy Christie-what term do you set aside then for ethnic British people after you have assigned it to people of all manner of races? British is the only description available to describe the long term inhabitants of the British Isles- and before you lay in with PC revisionism, the bulk of the population is genetically descended from those who arrived when the ice retreated and many of the other European races contributing to the British people have been on these islands as long as the Franks have been in France etc The numbers of migrants has historically been very small as a proportion, and that includes those who are not white Europeans-despite what the BBC and other people who have a vested interest in revising British history would like to tell you. Those who are citizens of this country are citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This does not make them British. Generations and generations for all but a tiny minority is an absurdity and if you believe that you need to look at some serious history books,

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

  • Just goes to prove we're less gullible in the East!!!!

    Report this comment

    Lord Horn

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

  • Local Norfolk born folk are bloody minded and very protestant,so it figures.

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    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

  • the census just goes to prove what many have been saying for years . London is no longer a british city

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

  • Well actually it didn't reveal British people are in the minority in London, it revealed White British people are in the minority, different thing entirely. 63% of people in London are still British just not white, there are many black and Asian people in London who have been here for generations and generations. More so than many white British families.

    Report this comment

    Lucy Christie

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

  • Your article also fails to note the presence of a Roman Catholic Cathedral with its congregation so the census report is even more surprising. But as one with no religion (save science?) I do wonder whether this may not indicate as much the change in our society as in faith. It seems to me that more people today are, due perhaps to the internet, social media and data protection, more inclined than in 2001 to keep some of their information private. Sadly the form of the census makes it impossible to asses the quality of the information - only the quantity.

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    Richard Woods

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

  • Won't these census returns be skewed by UEA students? My kid filled a census form at a student house at uni as the census fell in term time As far as GY goes and percentages of those not born in the Uk and having lived in the UK for less than 10 years, either the census figures available online apply to the whole of the borough rather than the town, or an awful lot of people did not fill in a form.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

  • thas normal for Norfolk.

    Report this comment

    Rorping

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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