Key points

Estimates from Census 2021 show that:

  • The religion with which most people identified in the Lancashire-12 area was Christian (54.7%)
  • This fell by 14.1 percentage points from 68.8% in 2011
  • Christianity was still the dominant religion in all of the districts in Lancashire and in 216 of 233 wards in the Lancashire-12 area and in 243 out of 271 wards in the Lancashire-14 area
  • 40.1% of people identified with 'No religion' in Rossendale, more than the England and Wales average of 37.2%, though in all of the district's 14 wards 'Christian' dominated - sometimes by a small margin
  • In contrast only 26.3% of people identified with 'No religion' in Preston, although this category dominated in one of the 16 wards
  • 'No religion' was the dominant category in two more wards in Pendle, three in Lancaster and three in Blackpool, where the district proportion amounted to 41%
  • 6.9% of respondents identified as 'Muslim' in the Lancashire-12 area, but this was 35% in Blackburn with Darwen where 8 of the 17 wards had a 'Muslim' majority
  • In three wards in Pendle, where the district proportion of 'Muslims' was 26%, there was a 'Muslim' majority
  • There were more people in the Lancashire-12 area who identified as 'Pagan' (1,631) than as 'Jewish' (958)


The following article uses statistics for local authorities from the Phase 1 - Census 2021 topic summaries. The dataset was originally published in November 2022 although figures for electoral wards were not specifically published until January 2023. This report presents selected information for the Lancashire-14 and Lancashire-12 areas, individual local authority areas within these boundaries and electoral wards. There are nine categories in table TS030, six are specific religions: Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh. The others are 'Other religion', 'No religion' and 'Not stated'. We have also analysed the results for the 'Detailed Religion' table that expands the 'Other religion' category.

Main religions in Lancashire

The results for the main religions in the Lancashire-12 area are 675,521 persons identified as Christian (54.7%), 389,377 of No religion (31.5%) and Muslim 85,176 (6.9%). No other religion exceeded 1% of the population, of these 7,384 were Hindu, 5,044 belonged to 'Other religions', 3,304 were Buddhist, 1,771 were Sikh and 958 Jewish.

Change from the Census in 2011

The general picture is a fall in the number identifying as 'Christian' balanced by a rise in those identifying with 'No religion'. The numbers identifying as 'Muslim' have also risen steeply in places, while not experiencing any falls in proportions. In 2011 the number of Christians in the Lancashire-12 area was 805,510. Between the censuses, this fell by 129,989 persons which was a fall of 14.1 percentage points from 68.8% of the population to 54.7%, or an actual fall of 16.1%. Those identifying with 'No religion' in the Lancashire-12 area rose by 164,931 from 224,446 in 2011, a percentage point gain of 12.3 from 19.2% in 2011 to 31.5%, or an actual rise of 73.5%. While the number of Muslims in the Lancashire-12 area rose by 29,454, or 52.9%, the increase was greater in the wider Lancashire-14 area at 44,726 from 96,600 in 2011 to 141,326 in 2021, a real increase of 46.3% or 2.6 percentage points. There were increases in the number of Muslims in all 14 of the Lancashire authorities as well as the North West region, England and England and Wales.

Dominant religion of wards

In the Lancashire-12 area there are 216 wards where the majority of people identify as 'Christian'. In ten wards there is a majority identifying as 'Muslim'. These are Daneshouse with Stoneyholme and Queensgate in Burnley, Central and Spring Hill in Hyndburn, Bradley, Brierfield East & Clover Hill, Brierfield West & Reedley plus Whitefield & Walverden in Pendle and Deepdale and Fishwick & Frenchwood in Preston. There are seven wards where the majority identify with 'No religion'. Four are in Lancaster: Bulk, Castle, Marsh and University & Scotforth Rural, two in Pendle: Vivary Bridge and Waterside & Horsfield with just one in Preston, this being the City Centre ward.

In Blackburn with Darwen there are nine wards where the majority identify as 'Christian', and eight where they identify as 'Muslim'. Of Blackpool's 21 wards 18 have a 'Christian' majority while three, Bloomfield, Brunswick and Claremont mostly identify as having 'No religion'. Hence the total wards identifying as 'Christian' in the Lancashire-14 area are 243 with 18 as 'Muslim' and ten as 'No religion'. 

Identifying with any religion by ward

We have included a ward map on slide or page 3 of the Microsoft Power BI report (Identifies with a religion) that shows the level of identification with any of the six main religions or 'Other religion' and excludes the 'No religion' or 'Not stated' categories. The top 16 wards with the highest identification proportions are Muslim dominated ones in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, Burnley and Preston, ranging from 92.1% in Bastwell & Daisyfield (Blackburn with Darwen) to 77.8% in Blackburn Central. The ward which is next, but is Christian dominated, is Sharoe Green in Preston at 77%. It is perhaps because this ward also has a high proportion of Muslim and Hindu residents that this has happened, as the Christian proportion is only 55.9%. There are seven wards where the proportion of Christians exceeds 71.9%. Top of these is Clayton-le-dale & Salesbury in Ribble Valley, at 72.9%.

Other religion

There are 5,044 persons in the Lancashire-12 area listed as identifying with 'Other religion', which means other than the main six. A different Census table (TS031) breaks the 'No religion' and 'Other religion' categories into 60 much smaller categories. As this question was voluntary a high proportion of respondents did not answer and there may be doubts about the validity of some of the responses. 

In the Lancashire-12 area there were 1,631 'Pagans' and 694 'Spiritualists', which can be compared with 958 identifying as 'Jewish', a category in the main religion table TS030. Whereas most of the minority religions listed in table TS031 do not usually have premises for practising their rituals or worship, and this may be a factor in deciding the classification, Spiritualists do, so this may be an oversight by ONS.

One ward which has a relatively large proportion in the 'Other religion' category is 'Croston, Mawdesley & Euxton South' where the 104 residents who so identify exceed the 49 Buddhists, 26 Hindus and 14 Jews. Looking in table TS031 we see that these 104 include 57 Pagans, 9 Rastafarians, 5 Satanists as well as 7 Spiritualists.

It is slightly confusing that this table includes some 'No religion' categories like 'Atheist' and 'Agnostic'. These would be expected to be covered by the much more populous category of 'No religion' in table TS030. Separate Christian and Muslim sects and denominations do not feature in the main table because the questionnaire asked for a  simple selection of the religion in general. We have included all of the categories as published in our lists.

Interactive report for the Lancashire-14 area

Source: NOMIS: Census 2021: Table c2021TS030: Religion, Census 2021: Table c2021TS031: Religion (detailed) and Census 2011: Table KS209 Religion