Most people don't believe horoscopes can tell the future, but a significant minority in the US and Britain believe star signs can say something useful about people
Astrology continues to be a multimillion-dollar industry in India and it receives plenty of attention elsewhere in the world – even if, as professional stargazers have argued, 86% of people are now living under the wrong sign due to earth’s wobbly spin. But does anyone actually believe that stuff?
According to a new YouGov survey, the vast majority do not. But a significant minority say horoscopes, which use the position of the stars at the time of a person’s birth to make forecasts and give advice for everyday life, can tell you at least something about people.
Overall, the rate of belief in the predictive power of astrology, is 8% in Britain and 14% in the United States. Notably only 82% of British people and only 65% of Americans are definitive “NOs” on this question – the rest are unsure.
That’s potentially millions of believers, perhaps, though it’s only about half the number who believe in possession by the devil or that aliens have been discovered but hidden from the public. And only half that number – 4% in Britain – have acted on information from their horoscope.
Yet even if they can’t predict the future, a much larger group are willing to believe star signs – one of twelve symbols assigned to people born at certain times – can say something about themselves or other people. In Britain, 20% say star signs can be useful in this way, and nearly a third of Americans (30%) agree.
In both countries, women are more likely to give horoscopes some credit than men.
The survey also shows the vast majority of people can say what their star sign is, and the findings overall show it’s not terribly uncommon for people to find the mythology of the Zodiac occasionally insightful.
It may also demonstrate how pseudoscience capitalises on deeper intuitions about the world. For instance, a slight majority of British people (52%) and Americans (55%) say they do believe in fate.