'British whites' are the minority in London for the first time

White British people are now in a minority in London for the first time, it emerged today as census data revealed that the immigrant population of England and Wales went up by 3million over the past decade.

Just 3.7million Londoners described their ethnicity as 'White British' in 2011 - down from 4.3million in 2001, and making up 44.9 per cent of the city's population.

It is believed to be the first time that British whites have become a minority in any region of the UK.

Another major change to the nation came in the decreasing number of Christians - 4million fewer people claimed to belong to the faith as a quarter of Britons said they had no religion.

In 2011, 7.5million residents were foreign-born, making up 13 per cent, or one in eight of the population - up from 4.6million people in 2001.

The total population of England and Wales was 56.1million, a seven per cent increase on 2001 - and 55 per cent of the increase is due to migration.

There were 33.2million people claiming to be Christian, down from 37.3 million in 2001 and making up just 59 per cent of the population.

25.1 per cent of people said they had no faith, up from 14.8 per cent a decade earlier, while the proportion of Muslims rose from 3.0 per cent to 4.8 per cent.

LONDON'S ETHNIC MAKEUP

White British: 44.9%

Other white: 14.9%

Asian: 18.4%

Black: 13.3%

Arab: 1.3%

Mixed race: 5%

The third most popular religion was Hinduism, with 1.5 per cent of the population, while 0.8 per cent were Sikhs and 0.5 per cent Jewish.

Nearly 180,000 claimed to be followers of the Jedi religion featured in Star Wars - down from 2001, when around 400,000 jokingly put the faith down on their census form.

The statistics emerged as the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed that English cathedral congregations had grown dramatically in recent years, debunking the 'cliché' that the Church of England is fading away.

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said the decline in religion was 'really significant', adding: 'In spite of a biased question that positively encourages religious responses, to see such an increase in the non-religious and such a decrease in those
reporting themselves as Christian is astounding.

'Of course these figures still exaggerate the number of Christians overall - the number of believing, practising Christians is much lower than this and the number of those leading their lives with no reference to religion much higher.'

But Nick Spencer, research director at theology think-tank Theos, argued 'Religion is difficult to define and difficult to measure.

'The census measures religious identification, not beliefs or practice. It's about what people call themselves, and which group they wish to identify with.

'These figures show that we have a plural religious landscape, but that doesn't mean we're atheists. Digging deeper, we see that even those who say they have no religion often have a variety of spiritual beliefs, but they don't want to associate these to religious institutions.'

The data on religion showed considerable national variation - Knowsley, in Lancashire, is the most Christian town in England with 80.9 per cent of residents following the faith, while in London's Tower Hamlets 34.5 per cent of the population are Muslims.

Norwich is the most godless place in the country, as 42.5 per cent said they had no religion - despite the presence of one of England's most spectacular cathedrals.

Britain's increasing diversity was emphasised by the data released by the Office of National Statistics, as it emerged that the proportion of the nation that is white has fallen below 90 per cent for the first time.

More here: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2246288/Census-data-Immigra