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More people opting for non-religious funerals, new report shows

Humanists UK has welcomed a new report on the changing face of UK funerals which shows that traditional religious funerals are in decline, with more people choosing to have a personalised, bespoke funeral for their loved ones.

Co-op Funerals’ report released today, Burying Traditions: The Changing Face of UK Funerals, found that three quarters (77%) of Co-op’s funeral directors said requests for funerals to take place outside of traditional religious settings have increased in the last five years.

The research also reveals more than a quarter (27%) of people now want a non-religious service, up from 24% in 2018. Just one in ten (10%) people say they would want a traditional religious funeral.

Welcoming the report, Humanists UK’s Director of Community Services Teddy Prout said:

‘We welcome this report which gives insight into the changing nature of funerals in the UK, including the increasing numbers of people who are opting for personalised, bespoke funerals over traditional religious funerals which are in decline.

‘This trend is reflective of the huge societal shift of more people identifying as non-religious than ever before and with that, perhaps, comes more open attitudes towards death.

‘Humanists believe there is only one life, the here and the now, meaning we don’t believe in an afterlife. These beliefs may take some of the “fear” out of death and could be a reason why, while some see funerals as purely sombre occasions, a growing number see them as about celebrating someone’s life and their legacy.

‘Humanists UK pioneered non-religious funerals and nowadays we conduct thousands every year, with this number only expected to grow. Our celebrants work with the family and loved ones to create a bespoke funeral that is tailored to the deceased’s wishes in the most meaningful way possible.’


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or phone 020 7324 3078 or 07393 344293.

Read more about our calls for funerals settings to be more inclusive for all.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services, benefiting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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