Survey: Religiosity of Ukrainians decreased by 11% in 18 years

The monument to Prince Vladimir in Kyiv. Photo:

American researchers find out that in terms of religiosity, Ukraine continues to rank second in Europe – right after Greece.

Since the beginning of 2002, the religiosity of Ukrainians has decreased by 11% – from 61% to 50%. This is evidenced by the results of the latest survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.

In 2019, researchers surveyed 38,426 people in 34 countries about whether they believe there is a connection between belief in God and morality and how important God and prayer are in people’s lives.

On average, 45% of respondents say it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values. A median of 62% across the countries surveyed say that religion plays an important role in their lives. At the same time, the survey data vary significantly by country and region of residence.

Of all 13 countries surveyed in the European Union, Greece has the largest share of residents who tie belief in God to morality (53%), followed closely by Bulgaria and Ukraine (50%). Relatively few people say it is necessary to believe in God to be moral, including just 9% in Sweden, 14% in the Czech Republic and 15% in France.

The researchers note that since 2002, the connection between belief in God and morality has increased significantly in Bulgaria (+ 17%) and Russia (+ 11%), while Ukraine over the same period has seen an 11% drop – from 61% to 50%.

In Greece, 30% of the population considers religion to be "somewhat important" and 50% as "very important", which gives it the highest rates in this respect in Europe and the Western world.

In the second place is the United States, where 70% of respondents pay a lot of attention to religion. At the same time, 59% of respondents in Bulgaria find religion important, 60%  – in Ukraine and 63%  – in Russia. In most of the countries surveyed, more than half of the public says religion is either “very important” or “somewhat important” in their lives. However, Europeans generally show less religious commitment on this measure than people in other regions.

When asked about the importance of religion in their lives, majorities in 23 out of 34 countries say religion is very or somewhat important to them. This includes nine-in-ten or more in Indonesia, Nigeria, Tunisia, the Philippines, Kenya, India, South Africa, Brazil and Lebanon.

When asked separate questions about the roles that prayer and God play in their lives, more respondents say that God is important than say that prayer is important, though strong majorities in half of the countries surveyed say that both are important to them. In Russia, 42% say that prayer plays an important role in their lives, while 56% of respondents say that God is more important. In Bulgaria, these figures are 41% and 55%, and in Ukraine – 52% and 62%. However, in Greece these figures are much higher: 73% attach importance to prayer and 82% – to God.

The importance of God has increased in the post-Soviet countries: Russia (+ 16%), Bulgaria (+ 14%) and Ukraine (+ 12%). At the same time, the importance of God has declined in many European nations, in particular Spain shows the most significant decrease (- 26%).

The researchers also emphasized that the importance of God, religion and prayer varies greatly by age, educational level, economic situation and other variables.

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that more than half of Americans believe that God is not needed for morality.


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