Women 'two thirds more likely' to believe in God and afterlife than men

Survey finds a gender divide in religious beliefs

Women are more almost two thirds more likely to believe in God or life after death than men, a new poll highlighting a deep gender divide in religious beliefs has found.

The study published by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) found 60 per cent of women but only 35 per cent of men believed in some form of afterlife.

More than 9,000 British people born in 1970 were interviewed for the study.

Over half (54 per cent) of the men surveyed said they were atheists or agnostics, compared to only a third (34 per cent) of the women.

Professor David Voas said: "Among believers, women are also much more likely to be definite than men, and among non-believers, men are much more likely to be definite than women."

The survey also found that a substantial proportion of teenagers who described religion as an important part of their lives at age 16 went on to become relatively un-religous adults.

Meanwhile, Muslims were the most likely to believe in the existence of God or life after death. Almost nine out of ten said they had no doubts at all, although only 82 were interviewed for the study.

Almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of those who identified as evangelical Christians were completely secure in their belief in God’s existence.

However, this was much lower among participants who said they were Roman Catholics, with only 33 per cent having no doubts. It decreased further among Anglicans and Methodists, where the equivalent figure was 16 per cent.

Prof Voas said the survey also found belief or disbelief in God and in life after death do not always go together. “A quarter of those who said they were agnostic also said they believe in life after death. However, nearly a third of the people who said that they believe in God - despite occasional doubts – do not believe in an after-life."

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