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Britain less religious, more diverse

London AP

Millions fewer Christians, many more immigrants and fewer married couples. Compared to a decade ago, Britain today is more ethnically diverse and less religious, new census figures published Tuesday indicate.

About 1 in 8 people — 13 percent, or 7.5 million — in England and Wales say they were born outside the U.K., compared with 9 percent in 2001. Half of the immigrants have come to Britain in the past decade, the figures from the 2011 census show.

Christians are still the largest religious group, but the number of people who stated they were Christian was down 4 million to 33.2 million, or 59 percent of the population, compared to 72 percent in 2001.

Among those who described themselves as foreign-born, the most common birthplaces were India, Poland and Pakistan. In 2001, Poland was not yet a European Union member and there were only 58,000 Poles in the U.K. Ten years later, they have jumped 10-fold to 579,000.

The census also found that 86 percent of residents of England and Wales identified themselves as white, down from 91.3 percent in 2001.

The proportion of married people last year stood at 47 percent, down from 51 percent in 2001.