Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Social Trends - latest research

The latest British Social Trends has just been published, available for £50 or so from the office of national statistics, or free from this website. Among the various findings is that we are richer, but no happier, live longer, have more children outside marriage, and spend 8 times more on leisure and overseas holidays than we did 30 years ago. Press release with a summary of the report here.

The very last section deals with 'Religion'. According to the survey 46% say they have 'no religion', a figure slowly catching up on the 48% who claim to be Christians, of which 22% are CofE. The report states "overall the largest percentage rise was for people who stated that htey were Christian with no denomination, which has doubled to 1/5 of all 'Christians' since 1996.

55% of people never go to church, men are more likely to be in this group than women, though for both the figure is over 50% Religious meetings or services are attended once a week or more by 13% of men and 15% of women.

The UK is relatively low for spiritual beliefs compared to the rest of Europe, though some of this might just be that we're vaguer. 38% belive in God, a further 40% belive in 'some sort of spirit or life force', whilst 20% don't believe in either.

This seems to bear out other pieces of research which suggest a 40% and rising 'unchurched' figure - Social Trends puts this at 55% - and an increasing number of church leavers and 'post-church' Christians, who maintain their faith but not their membership of a Christian fellowship.

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