Annual baptisms in the Church of England have plummeted from 615,000 in 1920 to 80,000 last year, according to newly published figures.
The scale of the decline is illustrated further by the percentage of babies that are christened. In 1927, it baptised 72 per cent of all newborn children whereas in 2019 the Church baptised just 8 per cent.
The numbers seeking baptism were interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, dropping to a record low of 17k in 2020, before recovering to 80k in 2022.
The latter figure includes a higher percentage of older babies, indicating candidates who were ‘delayed’ by the pandemic restrictions.
However, despite the “significant bounce-back in baptism numbers” last year, the total figures for 2022 remained below pre-pandemic levels and the church said there are still “in the region of 70,000 people not yet baptised who would have been baptised had there not been a pandemic”.