New study shows people in the UK are among the least likely to believe in God

new study released today by King’s College London shows the UK public are now among the least likely internationally to believe in God, following a decline in belief since the 80s. The World Values Survey is an international research programme devoted to the study of people’s social, political, economic, religious and cultural values around the world.

The findings published today support existing data on this subject. Last year, Humanists UK reported on the Census 2021 results where the number of people identifying with ‘No religion’ was 37%. This result was likely to underestimate the number of non-religious people, because the question is not only optional, but also uses leading wording. The Office of National Statistics acknowledges this itself. The annual British Social Attitudes Survey, by contrast, found in 2020 that 53% of British adults belong to no religion, with only 37% Christians, results which align closely to the World Values Survey.

Other findings released in the report today show:

  • Only 49% of the UK said they believed in God in 2022 – down from 75% in 1981.
  • 72% of people in the UK believe that religious authorities should not ultimately interpret the laws in a democracy
  • 82% of the UK public say they trust people of a different religion – the second highest of the 24 nations surveyed

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented:

‘The World Values Survey confirms that the number of people in the UK who identify as non-religious is increasing, and has been for decades. With the survey showing such a large percentage of the population supporting a secular approach to democracy, we need to address the outdated approach to issues such as faith-based discrimination in schools, bishops in the House of Lords, and lack of legal humanist marriage.

‘We live in a diverse and plural society. The results show that the UK population has among the highest acceptance of religious diversity, and we should all work to build a country that treats everyone equally regardless of religion or belief.’