Census 2021: 40 religions Manchester residents follow including Wicca, Paganism, Scientology and Satanism

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Christianity is the most popular religion in Manchester, but there are also notable numbers of Mancunians who have no religious belief.

There are dozens of different religions - including Wicca, Paganism, Satanism and Scientology - being followed in Manchester, the latest Census data suggests.

The results of the 2021 Census show there are more than 40 different belief systems which residents in the city have said they follow. Christianity is the most popular faith in Manchester, but the second most common response was from people who had no religious belief. Here’s what the data shows on the religious beliefs and practices of Mancunians.

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What does the data show for Manchester?

The Census data sheds fascinating light on the religious diversity of Manchester, with dozens of different belief systems being practiced by the city’s residents.

A total of 516 residents told the Census that they were pagans (making paganism the ninth most popular religion in Manchester), while 105 people said they followed Wicca, which is a modern pagan religion. There were also 22 Scientologists and 75 Satanists in the Census results for the city.

Other religions which Mancunians said they follow include Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest faiths which was founded in Iran (47 people said they followed it), Taoism (40 followers), Yezidism (18 followers), Shamanism (17 followers) and Shinto (eight followers). A total of 14 people told the Census they followed traditional African religion while 12 people said they were druids.

Christianity was the most common response in Manchester to the Census question on religion, with 199,873 people describing themselves as Christians.

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However, the second most common response was that people had no religious belief, with 178,396 residents of the city saying that. That was not the only way of indicating a lack of practising belief or scepticism about a supernatural deity, with 402 Mancunians also describing themselves as agnostics and 150 saying they were atheists.

The other most common religions in Manchester are Islam, which 122,962 people said they followed, Hinduism which has 6,048 followers, Buddhism with 3,219 people saying they followed it, Sikhism with 2,718 followers and Judaism which 2,632 people said was their religion.

What does the data say nationally and how does the Census ask about religious belief?

Manchester’s figures mirror the wider picture across England and Wales, with Christianity being the most popular answer to the Census question about religion followed by people saying they had no religious belief. For the first time the number of people who said they were Christian fell below 50%, with 27.5m people (46.2%) describing themselves as Christian. This is a 13.1 percentage point decrease from the 59.3% (or 33.3 million people) who told the Census they followed Christianity in 2011.

The number of people who said they had no religion, on the other hand, has grown by 12 percentage points since the previous Census a decade earlier.

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The number of Muslims and Hindus in England and Wales has risen slightly since the previous Census, with 6.5% of people who answered the question saying they followed Islam and 1.7% following Hinduism, while London remains the most religiously-diverse part of the country.

The question on religion in the Census is voluntary, but 94% of usual residents chose to answer it in the 2021 survey. This is a slight increase from the 92.9% who answered it in 2011.

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