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Religion and Belief

The 2011 Census included a voluntary question on religion and belief. The vast majority of respondents (93.4%) completed the question:

 

Religion or Belief, Bedford Borough, 2011

Religion or Belief

Number

% of Total Population

 

 

 

Christian

  93,346

59.3

Buddhist

       509

  0.3

Hindu

    2,420

  1.5

Jewish

        171

  0.1

Muslim

    8,610

  5.5

Sikh

    3,336

  2.1

Ravidassia        946   0.6

Any other Religion

       560

  0.4

No Religion

   37,229

23.6

Religion not Stated

   10,352

  6.6

Bedford Borough

 157,479

100.0

Source: ONS, 2011 Census, Tables KS209EW and QS210EW   © Crown Copyright 2012

Between 2001 and 2011, the Borough's Christian population declined by 8,370 and from 68.8% of the population to 59.3% (England 59.4%). 

The Muslim population increased by 79% to 5.5% of the Borough population, and those reporting 'No Religion' increased by 68% to 23.6% (England 24.7%).

 

Variation in Religion or Belief by Age, 2011

There are major variations in religion and belief by age.  Among 0-19 year olds, 30.7% state that they have No Religion, but this is just 5.6% among those aged over 65.

The age distribution of different religions is also strongly influenced by the age profile of ethnic communities.  For example, while 21.4% of Christians are aged 0-19, the proportion of Muslims aged 0-19 is 42.8%, reflecting the much younger age profile of the Borough's Muslim community. 

Similarly, 21.6% of all Christians are aged over 65, but only 3.4% of Muslims and 7% of Hindus are aged 65+. 

A detailed breakdown of religion and belief by age is available here

 

Variation in Religion or Belief by Ward, 2011

The composition of religion by ward varies greatly, with differences largely tied to ethnicity. 

For example, 41% of Queens Park ward residents are Muslim (3,500), and there are also large Muslim populations in Cauldwell (970), Castle (870) and Kingsbrook (840) wards.  Almost 5% of Kempston Town residents are Sikh, and there is a large Hindu community in Cauldwell (460).

There is a notable difference in the proportion of the population who are Christian between the urban (56%) and rural (65%) areas of the Borough.  Again, this largely reflects their different ethnic compositions, but is also influenced by the older age profile of the rural area. 

The highest proportion of Christians is in Oakley (69%) ward, followed by Bromham & Biddenham and Putnoe (both 68%).  The lowest is in Queens Park (37%).

A detailed breakdown of religion or belief by ward is available.

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