LONDON – A new survey of the British public has found that most people still identify themselves as Christians.
In a poll of more than 2,000 adults, 57 percent of people said they were Christian.
Thirty-five percent of the population said they had no faith, while eight percent said they were of another faith.
The poll was conducted by ComRes on behalf of Premier Media Group to coincide with the Government Census this month.
"Over half of the UK consider themselves to be a Christian – whether practicing as such, or by having a close affiliation with Christian values and beliefs," said Peter Kerridge, chief executive of Premier Christian Media.
The once-in-a-decade census asks each household a range of questions to help the government and local authorities plan spending on services such as healthcare and education.
The questions included an optional one asking people "What is your religion?"
The question had prompted a high-profile campaign by the British Humanist Association urging people not to check a religious box if they were not genuine practitioners of the faith.
Throughout March, the organization has been running advertisements on buses and public transport networks telling people: "Not religious? In this year's census say so."
The BHA argued that the findings of the question "What is your religion?" could be misleading. The organization commissioned an independent survey in which it compared answers to that question with answers to a slightly re-phrased question, "Are you religious?"
In answer to the former, 61 percent of people in England and Wales checked a religious box, while 39 percent ticked "No religion." In answer to the second, 65 percent ticked "No," compared to 29 percent who checked the "Yes" box.
The number of people professing to be Christian, nevertheless, compared favorably to the Premier poll. Of those who ticked a religious box in answer to the question "What is your religion?" 53.48 percent said they were Christian while 7.22 percent checked the other religions box.