London more religious and socially conservative than rest of UK, study finds

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  • June 24, 2020
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London is the most religious and socially conservative place in the whole of the UK, new research has found.

People in the capital were much more likely to attend religious services and pray regularly than in the rest of the country, according to the latest report by Christian think tank Theos.

Though some may believe the capital a haven for progressive views, the study also found Londoners as a whole were less liberal than people elsewhere.

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People in London were nearly twice as likely as respondents outside the capital to say that sex before marriage is at least sometimes wrong (24 per cent compared to 13 per cent).

They were more likely to say that same-sex relationships are at least sometimes wrong compared to people elsewhere in the country (29 per cent compared to 23 per cent).

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On assisted suicide, 38 per cent of Londoners said they thought it is at least sometimes wrong, compared to 27 people of people elsewhere.

The Religious London: Faith in a Global City survey found 62 per cent of Londoners identified as religious, compared to 53 per cent of people in the rest of Britain.

Researchers suggested the difference in religiosity was likely driven in part by immigration and the presence of diaspora communities.

Christianity was noticeably more active in the capital than elsewhere in the country, they also found. Some 38 per cent of Christians in London attended a service at least once a month, compared to 17 per cent of Christians nationally. And while 56 per cent of Christians in London prayed often, only 32 per cent of Christians in the rest of Britain did the same.

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. 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 survey also found Christians in London were more likely to donate to charity, volunteer and help their neighbours than their non-religious counterparts.

However, the study found no evidence of a religious revival in London. In fact, the group currently growing fastest in the capital are “nones” – those with no religious affiliation.

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