According to the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics, the percentage of residents of England claiming Christian identity fell from 71.7 percent to 59.4 percent between 2001 and 2011. The data came from the once-a-decade census of the country. Muslims increased from 3.1 percent to 5.0 percent.
In Greater Manchester, however, Christians were holding their own but slightly dropping. They constituted 74.1 percent of the population in 2001 but dropped to 73.1 percent in 2011. The Muslim population of Manchester grew from 5.0 percent in 2001 to 8.7 percent in 2011. Among the Muslims living in the area was Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who is believed to have detonated an explosive device at Manchester Arena, killing 22 and wounding dozens on May 22.
The 2001 census found that there are 49,138,831 people living in England (which does not include Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland). Of those 49,138,831 residents, 35,251,244 (or 71.7 percent) were Christian; 1,524,887 (or 3.1 percent) were Muslim. 7,709,267 (or 14.6 percent) said they had no religion; and 3,776,515 (or 7.7 percent) did not volunteer to state their religion.
By 2011, there were 53,012,456 people in England. Of these 31,479,876 (or 59.4 percent) were Christian; 2,660,116 (or 5.0 percent) were Muslim. 13,114,232 (or 24.7 percent) said they had no religion; and 3,804,104 (or 7.2 percent) did not state their religion.
Between 2001 and 2011, the number of Christians in England declined by 3,771,368 (from 35,251,244 to 31,479,876). The number of Muslims increased by 1,135,229 (from 1,524,887 to 2,660,116). The Muslim population of Greater Manchester rose by 107,508 between 2011 to 2011 (from 125,219 to 232,787).