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Report: UK has among the highest number of young people with no religious affiliation in Europe

(Wikimedia Commons/Hans Musil)Canterbury Cathedral: West Front, Nave and Central Tower

A new report has found that the U.K. is one of the several countries in Europe with the highest proportion of young people who are not religiously affiliated.

The findings of a new study have indicated that a majority of young people in a dozen European countries say they are not affiliated to a religion.

In the U.K., 70 percent of those aged between 16 and 29 years old described themselves as non-religious, while only 29 percent identified as Christian.

The Czech Republic has the largest proportion of young adults with no religion at 91 percent. A majority of young adults in Estonia, Sweden, Netherlands, UK, Hungary, Belgium, France, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Spain also do not associate with a religion.

In contrast, Poland has the least proportion of young adults with no religion at 17 percent and has the highest proportion of Christians at 83 percent.

Other European countries with the biggest concentration of Christians were Lithuania (74 percent) and Ireland (59 percent). The smallest proportions of Christians were found in Czech Republic (nine percent), Sweden (18 percent), Estonia (19 percent) and the Netherlands (19 percent).

The study, conducted by St. Mary's University and the Institut Catholique de Paris (ICP), analyzed data gathered from 22 European nations via the European Social Survey.

Researchers have found that 10 percent of young adults in the U.K. consider themselves Catholic, while seven percent identify as Anglican and six percent identify as Muslim.

Stephen Bullivant, a theology professor at St. Mary's University in London and author of the study, said that the differences in religiosity were "genuinely remarkable."

"The differences in the religiousness – or, as dominates in many countries, non-religiousness – of 16-29 year-olds in our sample of European countries is genuinely remarkable. There are, moreover, some genuine surprises in the data," Bullivant said, as reported by Euro News.

"For example, Ireland's young adults are – contrary to recent reports – still remarkably religious, at least by the standards of other highly developed European nations. Meanwhile, countries that had, until quite recently, traditionally strong religious cultures – Lithuania, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria – look to be in serious trouble, in terms of the coming generations," he added.

Bullivant's report is one of several studies that highlight the apparent decline of Christianity in Europe.

A study released by Pew Research Center in 2015 has predicted that Europe's Christian population will shrink by around 100 million people in the coming decades. It noted that Christians will still be the largest religious group in Europe, but Muslims will make up 10 percent of the continent's population by 2050, up from 5.9 percent in 2010.

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