London is more religious and more socially conservative than the rest of the country despite the city’s progressive reputation, according to new report published by the Christian think tank Theos.
A poll commissioned by Theos found that, for example, 62% of Londoners identify as religious compared to 53% across the rest of Britain.
The poll was conducted by Savanta ComRes which interviewed 2,023 British adults aged 18+ online between 17th-20th January 2020, and 1,005 London adults aged 18+ online between 17th-23rd January 2020.
The polling also showed that:
- Londoners are nearly twice as likely to say that sex before marriage is at least sometimes wrong compared to the rest of Britain (24% vs 13%).
- Londoners are more likely to say that same-sex relationships are at least sometimes wrong compared to the rest of Britain (29% vs 23%).
- Londoners are more likely to say that assisted suicide in the case of an incurable illness is at least sometimes wrong compared to the rest of Britain (38% vs 27%).
The findings also unearthed some interesting insights about London’s religious demography. The data found that religious Londoners were 48% BAME compared to just 27% of non-religious Londoners.
Christianity in particular was significantly more ethnically diverse in the city (31% Christians in London are BAME vs 2% across the rest of Britain).
Theos also found that Londoners are more intensely practicing, more likely to pray, and more likely to attend a religious service than those outside the capital.
- 1 in 4 Londoners attend a religious service at least once a month vs 1 in 10 in rest of Britain.
- Religious Londoners are twice as likely as religious people in other parts of the country to attend a service twice a month or more (31% vs 15%).
Elizabeth Oldfield, the director of Theos, said: “When we think about London, we might think about the global city with a reputation for progressive politics. But this is only half the story. London is also a city of surprises. This polling shows that London is in fact more socially conservative than the rest of the country.
“There is no doubt religion has an impact on this. Religious Londoners drive more conservative social views, even when those views are held by a minority of Londoners overall.
“The great success story of London has been its ability to welcome and accommodate opinions from across the political spectrum. The city still has the capacity to shock us – and this is one of the things which makes London one of the most dynamic, complex and interesting cities in the world.”