Young British religious ‘nones’: findings from the Youth On Religion study

Nicola Madge, Peter Hemming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article contributes to an understanding of diversity in beliefs and practices among young religious ‘nones’ who report the absence of a specific religious faith. It focuses on those describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or otherwise of ‘no religion’ within (a) a large-scale survey of over ten thousand 13 to 17 year-olds, and (b) interviews, discussion groups and eJournal entries involving 157 17-18 year-olds, in three British multi-faith locations. Compared to the study population as a whole, the young religious ‘nones’ were particularly likely to be white and born in Britain. There was, nonetheless, considerable diversity among this group in beliefs and practices: almost half the survey members mentioned some level of belief in God and most of the interview participants pointed to some presence of religion in their lives. Being a religious ‘none’ is, furthermore, not necessarily a stable identity and some young people had already shown considerable fluidity over their life cycles. Around half the survey members said they had maintained similar religious views to their mothers, but participants in both quantitative and qualitative studies pointed to the impact of their experiences and interactions, as well as the role of science, as factors affecting their beliefs and practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-888
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2016

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