[Episcopal News Service]
For the first time in the history of the Church of England the number of baptized Anglicans is less than half the country's population, according to new research by the University of Sheffield. The number of infants born and baptized into the church has dropped to 21 percent, the survey found. Dr. David Voas of the university's sociology department said that the trend threatens the foundations of the church's establishment as a state church.
There was almost universal baptism before the Second World War with about 75 percent of all babies baptized in 1933. Babies born to two Anglican parents are the most likely to be baptized, the study reported. Boas estimates that 24 million of the 48 million living in England this year were baptized Anglicans. 'Religion is being passed down like a recessive gene-it does not generally appear in the new generation,' he said, predicting that 'further erosion in church affiliation is almost inevitable.