Britain is still a Christian country, say most Britons

Milan DinicResearch Manager
December 29, 2020, 10:48 AM UTC

This is the most common view among non-Christians and those with no religion, as well as the majority of Christians

The majority of Britons (56%) say the UK is a Christian country. This view is held by seven in ten (69%) British Christians, as well as half of non-Christians (47%) and of those who are not religious (49%).

One in four Britons (28%) say Britain is not a Christian country, with a further 16% saying they don’t know.

The youngest Britons – those aged 16-24 – are split on whether the UK is a Christian country: 41% say it is is a Christian country, whilst 39% say it isn’t. The older Britons are, the more likely to consider the nation Christain: 53% of those aged 25-39, 59% of those in their 40s and 50s, and 61% of those aged 60 and above.

Should Christmas and Easter be public holidays?

Whilst Britons may differ on whether and how they celebrate Christmas and Easter, there is a universal agreement that both should be public holidays. The support is equally high both by those who are and are not religious.

Among those who are not Christian, eight in ten (80%) support Christmas Day and over seven in ten (74%) support Good Friday/Easter Sunday as public holidays. One in twelve in this group (8%), however, oppose Good Friday and Easter Sunday being a holiday.

Among Britons who do not belong to any religion, only 9% oppose Good Friday as a public holiday, and 7% say the same of Easter Sunday.

Should British schools still put on Nativity plays?

Schools in Britain traditionally put on Nativity plays in the Christmas period.

Overall, there is strong support for this tradition: just under half (45%) of the public ‘strongly approve’ and a further third (33%) approve ‘somewhat’. On the opposite end are 12% who say they are against schools organising plays focusing on the topic of Jesus’ birth.

Among non-Christians, six in ten (64%) approve of Nativity plays at schools, but 15% don’t.  Likewise, the large majority of non-religious Britons are fine with schools running nativity plays (70%), with just 17% opposed.

Our study also finds that eight in ten (77%) of Britons took part in Nativity plays when they were at school. Among this group, only 9% say they disapprove of Nativity plays.

Should schools teach about Christian holidays more than those of other religions?

Overall a third of Britons (33%) think schools should teach more about Christian than about holidays of other religions. Half (53%), however, think they should teach children equally about Christian holidays and holidays of other religions.

British Christians are split when it comes to this question: half (50%) say schools should teach about Christian holidays more than about the holidays of other religions, whilst just under half (46%) think it should be the same as for all religions.

Only 1% of Britons think schools should put more emphasis on holidays from other religions than Christianity. This figure rises to about one five of those belonging to other religions (21%), however, and a quarter (24%) of those who are not religious.

Nevertheless, six in ten in these groups (57% and 58% respectively) think holidays of other religions should have the same amount of coverage in class as Christian holidays.

See the full results here