In Northern Ireland, half identify as “practising Christian”, 21% say they are evangelical

A new survey shows that younger Christians are more committed to their faith. Experts are “surprised at high rates of religious practice” as 65% say faith has a role in general society.

Evangelical Focus

BELFAST · 27 FEBRUARY 2024 · 12:56 CET

An image of Belfast, in Northern Ireland. / Photo: <a target="_blank" href=""></a>, Unsplash, CC0.,
An image of Belfast, in Northern Ireland. / Photo: , Unsplash, CC0.

The data published by a report published by the Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland has “surprised” even those who were aware of the strong presence of Christianity in the region.

The survey, conducted by polling agency Savanta ComRes in spring 2023, shows that 50% of people in Northern Ireland identify themselves as “practising Christians”. 17% of the surveyed said they had no religion, and another 31.3% identified as a non-practising Christian.

The study revealed that “23% go to church each week”, 35% pray on a weekly basis and 13% “personally read the Bible”.

In Northern Ireland, half identify as “practising Christian”, 21% say they are evangelical

Key findings by the survey conducted in spring 2023 fopr the Evangelical Alllianve Northern Ireland. / Graph: Good News People report.

One in five is evangelical Christian

According to the survey, 21% in Northern Ireland identify themselves as “evangelical Christian” and 13% say they read the Bible every day.

These data show a commitment to a Christian practices among the population that stands out when compared to similar data collected in recent years in the rest of the United Kingdom or in Ireland.

“My research as a sociologist has always highlighted the importance of religion in Northern Ireland”, said Gladys Ganiel, Professor in the Sociology of Religion at the University of Queen’s University in Belfast. “But even I was surprised that these surveys found such high rates of religious practice; as well as a much more widespread willingness to identify with evangelicalism than I would have anticipated”.


Younger people most committed to Christian faith

The report highlights that 18–24-year-olds in Northern Ireland who are practising Christians are more likely to identify as evangelical than people aged 65 or more (70%, versus 46%).

It also found that 65% of the general population "agree or strongly agree that there is a role for faith in society in general".

Davyd Smith, head of the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland, said: “We always suspected that the Christian faith continued to play an important role in life here and this research confirms high levels of religious identification and practice. The findings in this report have challenged, surprised and encouraged us!”

“We are aware that evangelicals are often perceived negatively in the media”, he added, “our hope is that this report helps those in government and media understand us and religiosity in Northern Ireland better”.


More data

Based on these findings, the evangelical body has now presented a report which combines the findings of the survey with  a self-selecting online survey on how evangelical Christians saw society and their own church communities.

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