Who Will Go to the 66 Million in the United Kingdom?

The United Kingdom has enjoyed one of the richest Christian histories of any country. Many great Christians, pastors, missionaries, and authors of the past were British. The impact of this spiritual heritage is evident today in the lives of Christians and churches across the country. But there has also been much spiritual decline over the years, to the point that the country is desperately in need of evangelism, discipleship, church planting, and church revitalisation.

Despite many people claiming to be ‘Christian’, there are relatively few born-again Christians in the United Kingdom. Operation World put the number of evangelicals in the UK at 8.8% but qualifies that number with the fact that only about a third of ‘evangelicals’ (around 3%) attend church regularly.

Across the country, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a Bible-believing church to attend. For years, church buildings have been closed, sold, or converted into other uses. Often churches struggle to find pastors to lead them, and many churches have few young people attending. Clearly, there is a great need for revival and renewal through evangelism, discipleship, and church planting/revitalization.

Here are some other important facts about the United Kingdom:

  • Comprised of England (56m), Scotland (5.5m), Wales (3.1m), and Northern Ireland (1.9m).
  • England is the most densely populated country in Europe.
  • 90% of British people live in cities.
  • Between the 2001 and 2011 census, there was a decrease in the number of people who identified as Christian by 12%, whilst the percentage of those reporting no religious affiliation doubled.
  • The Muslim population has increased from 1.6 million in 2001 to 2.7 million in 2011, making it the second-largest religious group in the United Kingdom.
  • In a 2017 study, 71% of young people aged 18-24 said they have no religion.

Largest Urban Areas:

  • London – 9.8 million (“Greater London”)
  • Manchester – 2.6 million (“Greater Manchester”)
  • Birmingham – 2.4 million (“West Midlands”)
  • Leeds – 1.8 million (“West Yorkshire”)
  • Glasgow – 1.2 million (“Great Glasgow”)
  • Liverpool – 860,000 (“Liverpool Urban Area”)
  • Southampton – 856,000 (“South Hampshire”)
  • Newcastle – 775,000 (“Tyneside”)
  • Nottingham – 730,000
  • Sheffield – 685,000
  • Bristol – 617,000
  • Leicester – 509,000
  • Edinburgh – 489,000
  • Belfast – 483,000
  • Brighton – 474,000 (“Brighton & Hove”)
  • Bournemouth – 466,000 (“South East Dorset”)
  • Cardiff – 390,000
  • Middlesborough – 377,000 (“Teeside”)
  • Stoke-on-Trent – 373,000 (“The Potteries Urban Area”)
  • Coventry – 359,000 (“Coventry and Bedworth Urban Area”)
About the author

Travis has been a church planter to the United Kingdom since 2002 and also serves as the Europe Field Director for Vision Baptist Missions.

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