Summer Shorts

Herewith a round-up of some recently-published religious statistics which may be of interest to BRIN readers:

Religious Affiliation

Asked whether they consider themselves to be a member of any religious group, 56% of adults reply Christian, 6% some other religion, and 36% none. The number professing no religion decreases steadily with age, from 52% among the 18-24s to 23% for the over-65s (73% of the latter claiming to be Christian). The biggest concentration of adherents of non-Christian faiths is to be found in London (12%) and with the 18-24s (10%).

Source: Populus poll for Insight PA, conducted online on 4-5 July 2012 among 2,117 Britons aged 18 and over. Data reported in table 41 at:

Older Giving

Slightly more than half (52%) of the UK’s over-65s were online in June 2012, 6% more than in March 2009, albeit still 30% below the average for all adults. This advent of the ‘silver surfer’ is proving financially advantageous to religious causes, even as the traditional church collection plate shows signs of drying up. In May 2012 the over-65s were more likely than average to prioritize charities related to cancer, old age and religion when it comes to their online giving, and less likely to support organizations dedicated to animals, foreign aid, and homelessness. Online contributions by the over-60s to religious causes rose by 171% between 2007 and 2011, compared with 128% for all adults, although online donations to culture and the arts grew even faster (459% among the over-60s, 210% for the population as a whole).

Source: Infographic, compiled by JustGiving from multiple sources, and posted on its blog on 6 August 2012 at:


41% of adults describe themselves as superstitious (including 48% of the 18-24s and 45% of women), with 39% saying they are not superstitious at all. The most prevalent superstitious practices are: not walking underneath ladders (38%), touching wood (33%), not opening an umbrella indoors (27%), and crossing fingers (26%). 32% consider themselves as lucky, 27% have a lucky number, but just 6% have lucky underwear. Four leaf clovers (26%) and black cats (20%) are the most widely-regarded omens of good luck, and breaking a mirror (35%) and number 13 (20%) of bad luck. 8% fear 2013 may not be a good year for them because it contains the number 13 in the date.

Source: OnePoll online survey of 1,000 UK adults aged 18 and over in July 2012. OnePoll has kindly given BRIN sight of the full findings, but the only substantive public domain report to date appears to be the post from 20 July 2012 on OnePoll’s blog at:

Same-Sex Marriage

The Coalition Government’s commitment to widen the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples is proving none too popular with churchgoing Christians, 58% of whom say they are less likely to vote Conservative as a result and 43% less likely to vote Liberal Democrat. Moreover, as a consequence of Government policy on the issue, 75% state their perceptions of Tory leader David Cameron have worsened and 65% report the same about LibDem leader Nick Clegg. 63% believe Cameron has been intolerant of the opposition to the plan and 54% that Clegg has failed to listen to public concerns about it. Three-fifths agree that ‘whether or not I would have voted for the Conservative or Liberal Democrat Parties, I will not do so under their current leaderships if they introduce this measure’. 79% are not persuaded by Government reassurances that places of worship would not be forced to conduct same-sex marriages, while 86% fear that, even if Government does provide an exemption along these lines, it could be overturned by the UK courts or European Court of Human Rights.

Source: Cpanel survey by ComRes for the Coalition for Marriage (C4M) in which 569 churchgoing Christians in the UK aged 18 and over were interviewed online between 26 June and 11 July 2012. Full data tables, including a wide range of breaks by demographics and religion, were posted on 22 August 2012 at:

Newspaper coverage of the findings can be tracked via the C4M website under the entries for 18 and 19 August 2012 at:

Religious Studies GCSE Results, 2012

There were 239,123 candidates for the full course General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) in Religious Studies (RS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland during the summer of 2012, an increase of 7.7% over the 2011 figure (8.0% for male students and 7.5% for female). RS entries accounted for 4.6% of the total for all subjects (4.3% for males and 4.9% for females), up by 0.3% on the previous year. Entrants achieving grades of A*, A, B or C at RS were 73.7% (67.1% for males, 79.4% for females), 4.3% more than the average for all subjects. As well as the full course, there is a short course in RS, with 235,916 entries in 2012 (8.5% less than in summer 2011, 9.2% down for males and 7.7% for females). Candidates in RS comprised 63.5% of the total for all short courses, with 53.8% achieving grades of A*-C (46.0% for males and 61.5% for females).

Source: Results tables (which include disaggregations by country) published by the Joint Council for Qualifications, representing the seven largest providers of qualifications in the UK, on 23 August 2012 at:


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