Ngozi Fulani (photo: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian)

This essay, on the census data and the debate about diversity data in Britain, was myObservercolumn this week. It was published 4 December 2022, under the headline “White Britons are declining and immigrants help prop up Christianity. Does it matter?”

Ten million people living in England and Wales were born abroad. Fewer than half of Britons call themselves Christians. For some, the two main takeaways fromthe 2021 censusfor England and Wales – a more diverse nation and a more secular one – provide something to celebrate. For others, “white decline” and the decline in Christian identity are developments to fear.

Only 46.2% of the population of England and Wales now describe themselvesas “Christian”, down from 59.3% in 2011 and 72% a decade earlier. The main reason is a leap in the number describing themselves as being of “no…

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