Census shows number of Christians in decline for St Albans

THERE has been a marked decrease in the number of residents in St Albans describing themselves as Christian, according to the latest data released from the 2011 Census.

A picture of the local population continues to emerge as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) publicises more findings from the national survey.

There has been an 11 per cent fall in people stating their religion as Christian, to 59.7 per cent.

Despite the drop, this figure remains above average for England and Wales (59.3 per cent) and Herts (58.3 per cent).

While the debate over same-sex marriages continues to attract headlines in the press, there has been a 4.7 per cent decline in St Albans’ couples who have tied the knot.

Yet St Albans is clearly an ideal place to bring up children, as the district is ranked third in the country for the proportion of households with married or same sex civil partnership couples with dependent children – eight percentage points above the England average.

The district has a growing multi-cultural population, with a 4.7 per cent increase in non-white ethnic groups.

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When asked about health, 87.1 per cent of residents said they were not limited in their day-to-day activities by health issues. This is nearly five per cent higher than the average for England and Wales.

However when it comes to housing, fewer people are on the property ladder following a 6.2 per cent decline in local home ownership.

There has been about a five per cent increase in privately rented homes.

Data released by the ONS in November 2012 showed that there was a high variation in population density, with an average 8.7 people per hectare across the district – double the England average, with wards ranging from 1.3 residents per hectare in Redbourn, to 61.8 people per hectare in Ashley ward.

Over 140,000 people live in the St Albans district.

The number of locals with degree level qualifications has risen by about 10 per cent since the last census in 2001. At 46 per cent of the population, St Albans district is ranked 11th highest in the England and Wales for high level qualifications.

Over 13 per cent of residents work in professional, scientific and technical activities. This is the 14th highest proportion of the population in such employment in England and Wales.

A spokesman for campaigning trade union GMB said that with women in employment making up half or more of all workers in 22 out of 47 areas in the Eastern region, politicians should “no longer think of men as the breadwinner”.

In St Albans, 49.1 per cent of employees residing in the district are women – this compares to 47.2 per cent in Cambridge and 49.8 per cent in Welwyn Hatfield.

Paul Hayes, GMB regional secretary, called on politicians to, “consider the impact on women’s wage packets and their experiences at work when they propose changes to employment policies.”

Further census data is expected to be released on January 30 2013.