Positive vibrations, chakras and star signs – what spiritual beliefs do Britons hold?

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
January 11, 2022, 9:22 AM UTC

Women are much more likely to describe themselves as spiritual than men

There have been countless think pieces in recent years on how millennials - helped along by tech companies or “astrotech” - have replaced religion with astrology and new age spirituality. But YouGov data suggests that gender, rather than age, is a better indicator of how spiritual someone is.

While three in ten Britons say they are spiritual, this applies to over a third of women (35%) compared to a fifth of men (22%). The difference is less pronounced when it comes to religion – 21% of women and 17% of men say they are religious.

Across age groups, there’s only a small difference from the youngest to the oldest – and the older Britons are more likely to be both religious and spiritual. While one in four 18-29-year-olds (24%) say they are spiritual, the figure rises to one in three of those aged 60+ (31%). Likewise, a fifth of young Britons (19%) describe themselves as religious, compared with just under a quarter of older people (23%).

It appears that spirituality and religiousness also increase more with age for women than for men. Some 29% of women aged 18-29 describe themselves as spiritual and 19% religious, rising to 39% and 28% respectively for women aged over 60. Conversely, 18% of young men say they’re spiritual and 16% religious, compared with 21% and 18% of men aged over 60.

But while three in ten Britons say they are spiritual, a higher share believe in concepts associated with spiritualism. Among nine examples, the most popular is the idea that humans emit positive or negative energy or vibrations – approaching half of Brits (46%) say this is probably or definitely true.

Likewise, more than two in five people (44%) say there is such a thing a good and bad karma, and a similar figure (39%) also believe that spirituality and science can be combined for healing purposes.

Other common beliefs include that humans have energy points or chakras that can get misaligned or blocked (34%), a concept originally from early traditions of Hinduism. A quarter of Britons (26%) also believe that some people have a spiritual gift that means they can see parts of the universe or living world that’s hidden to others and that essential oils can cure illnesses (25%).

Crystals, star signs and tarot cards are more niche, although a relatively large minority of Britons still believe in them. One in five people say crystals have healing properties (19%), while one in seven (15%) believe that a person’s star sign genuinely impacts their personality. Some 11% are also convinced that tarot cards can help you understand the past, present or the future.

In nearly every instance, women are much more likely to believe in each concept than men. Close to three in five women (57%) believe in positive and negative vibrations, compared with only a third of men (35%).

Women are also twice as likely to believe that some people have a spiritual gift and can see hidden parts of the universe or living world, at 34% to 17%. And while only 9% of men agree that star signs have a genuine impact on a person’s character and their compatibility with other people, one in five women (22%) say this probably or definitely true.

The only statement both genders are roughly equally likely to believe is that essential oils can cure illnesses, with 27% of women and 23% men saying they think this is true.

See the full results here