Older, Christian or Jedi - the force is with Havering

Havering has the oldest and most Christian population in London, and some Jedis!

Details of the 2011 census have been revealed this week – shedding the most comprehensive light on the borough’s make-up in a decade.

Havering still has the highest average age in London, at 40, while 14 per cent of the borough’s workforce is retired.

Historian Brian Evans said: “This kind of thing does tend to go in waves. I can remember in 1967 the area had the highest proportion of 18 to 30-year-olds as a lot of people were moving in from other parts of London.

“I suspect it will change again although probably much slower as it’s so hard for young people to buy a house now.”

More people in the borough than any other in London describe themselves as Christian (66 per cent).

The number of Christians is even above the national figure of 59 per cent, but well down on the 76.13 per cent who described themselves as Christian in 2001.

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The biggest rise in that category is among people who have ‘no religion’ – now 22 per cent of residents, up from 13 per cent.

At just two per cent of the population, the borough has the lowest proportion of Muslim residents in London.

Population increase

The borough’s population decline over the previous 20 years has now been reversed, with the number of residents now standing at 237,232, up from 224,248 in 2001.

Nationally, there has been a record rise in population. But Havering’s head count is still below its all-time high of 242,200 in 1981.

Guy Goodwin, the Office for National Statistics’ director of census, said: “This is just the tip of the iceberg of census statistics. Further rich layers of vital information will be revealed as we publish more detailed data for very local levels over the coming months.”

-More than 630 residents identify their “religion” as Jedi Knights – an above average London proportion of 0.3 per cent.

But the Office for National Statistics puts them in the “no religion” category.

Jedis are characters in the Star Wars films and the trend for someone identifying themselves as one began in the 2001 census.A line from the film, May the Force be with you, has achieved cult status.

Some residents gave the reason for their decision on the Recorder’s Facebook page.

Brett “Chromo” Thake said: “For me, it was the most believable one.” While Alec Hickman added: “Because the force is every bit as believable as god.”