Theos Death Poll

A public opinion poll conducted on behalf of Theos

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Date Published
25 Apr 2009

Further Description

50% of Britons admit to fearing the process of dying, according to the findings of a new research project on death and dying by Theos, the public theology think tank.
 
In the poll of over 1,000 adults undertaken for Theos, 20% admit to fearing both the way they will die and death itself. 30% say that they fear the way they will die but not death itself. 25% claim to fear neither death nor the way they will die.  42% people believe that the publicity surrounding the death of Jade Goody was helpful, in making people think about death.
 
When asked about the sort of funeral they would like, 37% of people say that they would like a Christian funeral compared with 17% saying a non-religious one. 4% would like a religious but not a Christian ceremony. There is a trend by age group: 53% of people aged 65 and over say they would like a Christian funeral compared with only 20% of 18-24 year olds.
 
Only 7% of the population have made arrangements for their funeral. 16% of people have not given it any thought and 13% of people say they will let their family or friends decide. 42% have made a will and 41% have taken out life insurance.
 
Two thirds of all people (66%) have seen a dead body. 55% of 18-24 year olds have not while only 16% of people aged 65 and over have not.
 
The highest proportion of people fearing both the way they will die and death itself is among 18-24 year olds (26% compared with a national average of 20%). Strikingly, although the smallest proportion of people wanting a Christian funeral is within that age group (20% compared with a national average of 37%) it also contains the highest proportion of people wanting a religious but not Christian funeral (9% compared with a national average of 4%). 42% of people aged 65 and over state that their religious faith helps them to deal with the death of a loved one and prepare for their own death compared with only 23% of 18-24 year olds.
 
ComRes interviewed 1018 GB adults online between 24 and 26 April 2009. Data were weighted to be representative demographically of all GB adults.

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