UK Census: religion by age, ethnicity and country of birth

Christianity has had a boost from people born overseas, nearly half of Muslims in England and Wales are under 25 and Hindus are the least likely of all the religious groups to be born in the UK according to the latest 2011 Census data release by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Christianity, which previous 2011 census data tells us is still the largest religious group in England and Wales with 33.2m people, has the oldest age profile of all the main religious groups.

One in five Christians is aged 65 or over. To put this into perspective, the percentage of Christians over the age of 65 is higher than the percentage of the population aged over 65 in 2011 - 22% compared with 16%.

In comparison, 88% of Muslims are under 50 and nearly half of Muslims are under 25. Although this isn't new, Muslims also had the youngest age profile in 2001, the number aged under 25 has increased by 505,000 in the past decade.

The largest decreases amongst those identifying themselves as Christians have been in the 30-39 age group and 5-14 year olds. The ONS explain that these decreases correspond with declines in these age groups in the overall population.

We know from previous data released by the ONS that a quarter of the population of England and Wales do not have a religion but for the first time we have more details on age and background. Four in ten people with no religion were aged under 25 and four in five are under 50, with the biggest increases seen amongst the 20-24 age group and those aged 40-44.

One of the key changes that the data released today highlights is the large increase in the number of Christians born outside the UK. Since 2001 the number of Christians born in the UK has decreased by 5.3m but the number of Christians born overseas has increased by 1.2m. Of those Christians born outside the UK, 887,000 are from EU accession countries (including Poland).

Another notable rise has been in the number of Muslims born in the UK - a rise of over half a million from 718,000 to 1.2m in 2011. The data also shows that Hindus are the least likely of all the religious groups to be born in the UK followed by Buddhists, but as the ONS note, this is a pattern seen previously.

Muslims are the most ethnically diverse religious group in England and Wales, followed by Buddhists according to the census figures. Over nine in ten Christians are white, this accounts for 30.8m people. People with no religion however, are the least ethnically diverse with 93% coming from a white background.