The survey reported that Norwich
had the highest proportion of respondents in England and Wales reporting "no religion", although the percentage of Christians is higher than cities such as Cambridge, Nottingham
The city's figure was 42.5% reporting ‘no religion’ compared with an average figure of 21.1% for England and Wales as a whole.
Christianity is still the most popular answer to the “Religion” question with 59,515 people (44.9%) in Norwich saying that they were Christian and an above average 61% across the whole of Norfolk compared to an average of 59.4% in England.
In contrast, in Norwich, the Census states that there are only 131 Atheists, 61 Humanists along with 12 Druids and 10 Heathens, all vastly outnumbered by the 783 Jedi Knights.
The census also found the Christian population of England and Wales had fallen by four million to 33.2 million in the past decade.
Responding to the Census, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James,
said: "Norwich is a city of churches. They are around every corner. It's also a centre of vibrant Christianity today.
“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 benefitted 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."
, publisher of the www.networknorfolk.co.uk
website also expressed surprise at the results. He said: “Our website reports on the Norwich and Norfolk Christian community and in the last year we have seen 94,000 different people visiting the site, an increase of 18% on the previous year, so there is no shortage of interest in Christianity in our area.
“Every week we report on a huge range of activities in 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 active in several ways in the community. In the last year, we have reported on a number of new church congregations including those serving mainly Chinese and African residents in Norwich itself. On a Sunday morning there are Christians worshipping not only in a diverse range of churches but also in school halls, community centres and homes across Norwich and Norfolk,” said Keith.
See the Census Report for yourself