The YouGov Death Study: The fear of dying

Milan DinicResearch Manager
October 06, 2021, 1:46 PM UTC

How many Britons are afraid to die?

The YouGov Death Study reveals that Britons are split when it comes to fear of their own death: 41% are afraid and 43% are not. Women (47%) are more likely than men (35%) to say the prospect of their own death frightens them.

Women aged 25-39 (56%) are the most likely to say they fear death, while this falls to a quarter (26%) among men aged 60+.

Our study also shows that half (51%) of Britons who regularly practice their religion say they are not afraid of death, compared to 38% who formally belong to a religion but don’t practice it and 42% who are not religious.

A third of Britons who say they are afraid of dying say that the thought of death has affected how they enjoy their life. For most (57%), however, it has not.

There is a notable generational split on this question: for Britons under 40, 38-40% say their fear of dying has affected their life, compared to 33% of those in their forties and fifties, and 21% of those over 60.

Is fear of death irrational?

Three-quarters (75%) of Britons think fearing death is rational.

For those who think fearing death is irrational (15%), the greatest percentage is among men who are 60 or older (20%).

What frightens Britons more: their own death or that of a loved one?

Not all worry about dying is the same. The vast majority of Britons say they are more worried about the death of someone they love (63%) than their own death (6%). A fifth (22%) say they fear both equally.

Women (66%) are likelier than men (60%) to say they have more concern about a loved one dying than they are about their own death.

Men aged 16-24 (11%) are four times more likely than women the same age (3%) to say they are more worried about their own death than that of a loved one.

Would Britons lay down their life for another?

Three quarters (76%) of Britons say there is someone for whom they would give their life in order to save theirs. More women (80%) than men (72%) say this.

One in ten (9%) Britons say there isn’t anyone they’d give their life for.

See the full results here