Caring for family 'top moral issue for young'


Most young people in Britain think that morality means looking after your family or putting others first, a BBC poll suggests.

Almost 600 16 to 24-year-olds were asked to choose the most important moral issue from eight options, with 59% opting for caring for family.

Some 4% said having religious faith or beliefs was the most important.

The poll also suggests 51% of young people believe they are less concerned with morals than their parents.

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The poll, commissioned by BBC Religion and Ethics, asked young people to choose their top moral issue, with options including buying ethical products, being faithful to a partner and caring for the environment.

Looking after family was the top choice, with "putting others first" coming some way behind in second.

Paying taxes

Four per cent listed practising a religion as the most important moral issue, the same percentage as said paying taxes.

When asked for the least important issue, religion came out on top with a third of respondents citing it.

New figures from the British Social Attitudes survey - published alongside the poll - suggest that about half of Britons as a whole have a religious affiliation, sharply down from 20 years ago when it was two-thirds.

Barely a quarter of young people now identify themselves as religious.

Of the eight moral issues, the poll found:

  • 59% of those questioned said looking after their family was most important
  • 12% said it was putting others first
  • 8% cited being faithful to a partner
  • 5% listed caring for the environment
  • 4% cited having religious faith
  • 4% felt paying taxes was most important
  • 4% said playing a part in the local community
  • 1% listed buying ethical products

The poll was carried out by TNS BMRB to coincide with the opening of the BBC's Re:Think Festival.

The festival takes place in Salford, Greater Manchester, on Wednesday and Thursday and will include a debate on the relationship between science and religion between Professor Richard Dawkins and the country's Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks.



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  • rate this

    Comment number 472.

    This is hardly surprising. If your family has looked after you all your life, why wouldn't you want to look after them?

  • rate this

    Comment number 370.

    I think if this survey had been carried out by just asking the questions and not suggesting answers the results would have been very different. Not many people can face giving the true answer instead of the one they think you want to hear. With all the elderly people in care and lucky to receive monthly visits from family this survey appears somewhat suspect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    I'm not much fussed by other people's morality - its a matter for them. In my opinion their, and my, consideration for you & other people in society is far more important. I witness the "Stuff you-me first" approach all to often in shops, queues and other public places, with loud noise played, windows down, from cars, mobiles used in restaurants, shouting in public etc. young & old alike.

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    The only person you should look after is yourself. society does not care about you and the goverment treats its people with total contempt. Selfishness start with all MPs and the better off in our society so why should we be any different

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    It really isn't surprising that looking after their family was most important since that is where the majority get their support and financial help. Being a silver surfer my generation could be relatively independent once leaving school and getting a job. Now kids are hit by few jobs, little prospects, over priced housing and even ridiculous car insurance premium.


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