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.

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.