Almost three-quarters of young British adults have no religion, says survey showing huge number of 'nones' in Europe

Almost three quarters of the UK's young adults have no religious affiliation, while only 21 per cent identify as Christians and seven per cent as Anglicans, according to a major new survey showing an alarmingly high proportion of 'nones' across Europe.

The report, Europe's Young Adults and Religion by the respected professor of Theology and the Sociology of Religion at St Mary's University and director of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society, Stephen Bullivant, shows that the proportion of young adults (16-29) with no religious affiliation is as high as 91 per cent in the Czech Republic, 80 per cent in Estonia, and 75 per cent in Sweden.


These compare to only one per cent in Israel, 17 per cent in Poland, and 25 per cent in Lithuania.

In the UK and France, the proportions are 70 per cent and 64 per cent respectively.

The report uses the 2014/16 European Social Survey to explore rates of religious affiliation among young adults across 22 countries in contemporary Europe, with additional focus on France and the UK.

It shows that 70 per cent of Czech young adults – and around 60 per cent of British, Spanish, Dutch and Belgian ones – 'never' attend religious services.

Meanwhile, 80 per cent of Czech young adults – and around 70 per cent of Swedish, Danish, Estonian, Dutch, French and Norwegian ones – 'never' pray, the research, published today, shows.

Catholics make up 82 per cent of Polish, 71 per cent of Lithuanian, 55 per cent of Slovenian, and 54 per cent of Irish 16-29 year-olds. In France, it is 23 per cent and in the UK, the number of Catholics is 10 per cent.

Only two per cent of Catholic young adults in Belgium, three per cent in Hungary and Austria, five per cent in Lithuania, and six per cent in Germany say they attend mass weekly.

This contrasts sharply with their peers in Poland (47 per cent), Portugal (27 per cent), the Czech Republic (24 per cent), and Ireland (24 per cent).

Benjamin Voros/Unsplash

Weekly mass attendance is seven per cent among French, and 17 per cent among British Catholic young adults.

At the same time, only 26 per cent of French young adults, and 21 per cent British ones, identify as Christians.

Just seven per cent of young adults in the UK identify as Anglicans, compared to six per cent as Muslims. In France, two per cent identify as Protestants, and 10 per cent as Muslims.

All data used in the report are taken from the European Social Survey. Every two years, beginning in 2002, the ESS administers a detailed set of demographic and attitudinal questions to randomly selected, nationally representative population samples in a significant number of European countries.