FIGURES from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), have revealed a sharp rise in the number of people with no religion.

The statistics are based on a survey of religious belief conducted by parliamentary constituency, and were released in April 2016.

On a national average, 57 per cent of people identify as Christian.

Christianity is most popular in North Dorset, where 65 per cent identify with the faith.

However in South Dorset, which covers Swanage to Weymouth, there were only 54 per cent, which is below the national average.

This is a drop from the 67 per cent from 2011, meaning 10 per cent of people are no longer labelling themselves as Christian.

In West Dorset, which includes Dorchester, Bridport, Lyme Regis, Beaminster and Sherborne, the numbers are a lot better with 63 per cent identifying with the faith, which is above national average, meaning the area has gained a one percent following since 2011.

Meanwhile, the number who identify as having no religion has risen from 31 per cent to 43 per cent since 2011 in South Dorset, a rise of 12 per cent, compared to a drop of one per cent from 35 per cent to 34 per cent for West Dorset.

As a nation, there has been a 6 per cent rise from 28 per cent in 2011, to 34 per cent in 2015 of people labelling themselves as having no religion, highlighting that South Dorset is above average.

Data for other religions was gathered more sporadically, with no figures to report for the percentage of people following the Islamic faith in South Dorset, whereas in West Dorset, there was not enough data collected to provide reliable estimates.

There were only three per cent in South Dorset who said they belonged to ‘other religions’, which included Judaism, Hinduism and Sikhism.

This is a three per cent increase on 2011, when there was not enough data to provide an estimate.

That is the case for West Dorset, where no data has been able to collected due to small numbers.

As a religion, Christianity is in decline throughout the UK according to the ONS, which reported that the number of Christians in England Scotland and Wales has dropped from 63 percent in 2011.

This has been further reflected in the number of people who regularly attend church services, with the Church of England estimating that 930,000 people in England attended an Anglican service once a week in 2016, which is less than 2 per cent of the total population.

Attendance at churches does increase around Christmas time, with 2.6 million people attending a Church of England service in 2016, but this still only represents five per cent of the population.

South Holland and the Deepings in Lincolnshire is the constituency with the highest proportion of Christians, with 85 per cent of the population declaring their faith.

Leicester South had the lowest, with just over one in four, closely followed by Bethnal Green and Bow in East London, with both areas having larger than average Muslim populations.