ESC or click to close
Press releases and reports
Dynamics of religious self-identification of the population of Ukraine: results of a telephone survey conducted on July 6-20, 2022
The press release was prepared by Anton Hrushetskyi, the Deputy Director of KIIS
From July 6 to 20, 2022, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted its own all-Ukrainian public opinion survey "Omnibus". By the method of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) based on a random sample of mobile phone numbers (with random generation of phone numbers and subsequent statistical weighting), 2,000 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except AR of Crimea) were interviewed. The survey was conducted with adult (aged 18 and older) citizens of Ukraine who, at the time of the survey, lived on the territory of Ukraine (within the boundaries controlled by the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022). The sample did not include residents of territories that were not temporarily controlled by the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022 (AR of , the city of Sevastopol, certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts), and the survey was not conducted with citizens who left the country after February 24, 2022.
Formally, under normal circumstances, the statistical error of such a sample (with a probability of 0.95 and taking into account the design effect of 1.1) did not exceed 2.4% for indicators close to 50%, 2.1% for indicators close to 25%, 1.5% - for indicators close to 10%, 1.1% - for indicators close to 5%.
Under the conditions of war, in addition to the specified formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added. In particular, if back in May, among all the respondents we interviewed, 2.5-4% lived in the territories occupied after February 24 (and this corresponded to the percentage of those who live there, because the generation of phone numbers was random), now due to the occupiers turning off telephone communication we managed to interview fewer respondents living in occupied settlements, in particular, their number is 0.2%. It is important to note that although the views of the respondents who lived in the occupation were somewhat different, the general tendencies were quite similar. That is, the impossibility to interview such respondents now does not significantly affect the quality of the results. There are other factors that can affect the quality of results in "wartime" conditions (see Annex 2).
In general, we believe that the obtained results are still highly representative and allow a fairly reliable analysis of public moods of the population.
Religious self-identification of the population of Ukraine
There are different approaches to determining the religious self-identification of the population. In this case, we used the following approach: first, respondents were asked the question "To which denomination or religion, if any, do you belong?", where Orthodoxy / Greek Catholicism / etc. were listed, i.e. next, if the respondent answered that he believed self-Orthodox, an additional question was asked: "And which Orthodox Church do you belong to?" and the respondent was read only two options: "The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (created after the Unification Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and part of the bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate)" and "Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate". The option "Orthodox Church without specification" was not read, but could be marked if the respondent himself insisted on it.
The results of the survey, as well as the results for 2020 and 2021, are shown in the table below. First, the vast majority of respondents continue to identify themselves as Orthodox. Now 72% of respondents identify themselves as Orthodox. Second, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine definitely "leads" among the Orthodox Churches. In general, 54% of all respondents identify themselves specifically with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Only 4% now identify themselves with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. Another 14% consider themselves simply Orthodox, without specifying the Patriarchate. Third, compared to 2021, the share of those who identify with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine increased from 42% to 54%. Instead, the share of those who identify with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate decreased from 18% to 4%.
Among other results: after Orthodoxy, the most respondents identified themselves as atheists (10%) and Greek Catholics (8%). Other religions/confessions were mentioned less often.
Table 1. To which denomination/religion does the respondent identify himself
In all regions, most people identify themselves with Orthodoxy, as well as with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (from 59% in the Center to 42% in the East). 3-6% identify themselves with the UOC-MP, depending on the region (even in the East and South - only 5-6%). At the same time, from West to East, the share of those who consider themselves Orthodox, but do not belong to any Patriarchate, is increasing from 6% to 26%.
You can also pay attention to the fact that the share of atheists increases from 4% to 17% from West to East.
Table 2. To which denomination/religion does the respondent identify himself in the regional dimension
Table 3 shows the data in terms of linguistic and ethnic categories. Among all categories, the largest number of respondents identify themselves with OCU. Even among Russian-speaking Russians, although the predominance is relative, 36% still identify themselves with the OCU, while with the UOC-MP – 13%.
Table 3. To which denomination/religion does the respondent consider himself in terms of linguistic and ethnic categories
Table 4 data are given in the age dimension. Among all age categories, there are the most people who identify themselves with OCU (although for the age categories of 30+ years it is more than half, while for the category of 18-29 years – slightly less than half).
It is worth noting that there are more atheists among younger people - 22% among 18-29-year-olds. Among 30-39-year-olds, they are already 12%, and in the older age categories - even less.
Table 4. To which denomination/religion does the respondent consider himself in terms of age
A. Hrushetskyi, comments on the survey results:
In this survey, we studied the respondent's self-identification. In other words, the respondent can go to another Church (for example, because there are no other options in his locality) or not attend any at all, but make a certain "political" decision in the matter of self-identification (hence the jokes about "atheists of the Kyiv Patriarchate").
We see that although the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (of the Moscow Patriarchate) retains de facto control over the majority of parishes, at the same time it has suffered significant reputational losses in the minds of Ukrainians (of course, due to associations with the Russian aggressor). Even the recent decisions aimed at reducing the association with Russia, at least now, do not help the UOC-MP to return at least part of the previous commitment. And, most likely, without radical (in the perception of the population) decisions on the "Ukrainization" of the Church, the situation for the UOC-MP will not significantly improve in the near future.
It is also worth considering this question from another angle. Since the creation of the OCU, there have been many discussions in society, and to some extent this question could provoke a certain tension (although to a large extent inspired from the outside). Currently, we may not see a consensus being reached, but a significant softening of the difference in the views of Ukrainians and we see greater agreement between the population.
Annex 1. Formulation of questions from the questionnaire
To which denomination or religion, if any, do you belong?
(% among all respondents)
[IF MARKED "1"] And which Orthodox Church do you consider yourself to be? READ OPTIONS 1-2. OPTION 3 TO MARK ONLY IF THE RESPONDENT INSISTS ON IT HIMSELF
("% of those who belong to the Orthodox Church")
Annex 2. Methodological comments on the representativeness of telephone surveys conducted during the war
Even before the full-scale Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, there were a number of factors that negatively affected the representativeness of the polls (for example, the absence of a census for more than 20 years). A full-scale war, of course, greatly affects representativeness and complicates the work of sociologists, but does not make it impossible. Access to reliable data on the state of public moods remains relevant both for Ukrainians themselves and for our foreign partners (who, as the events of the past 5 months have shown, often underestimated and did not understand Ukraine and Ukrainians).
At the same time, in order to maintain objectivity, it is necessary to understand what limitations the war imposes on the conduct of sociological surveys. First of all, we pay attention to large-scale population movements. At the beginning of July, EU representatives estimated that 3.2-3.7 million Ukrainians - adults and children - are currently in these countries. There is no exact data on how many of them are adult citizens, but, most likely, it is about half. In addition, some Ukrainians left for other countries, except for the EU. In particular, a significant number of Ukrainians were forcibly deported to Russia and Belarus (according to some estimates, about 1 million). Among the approximately 30 million adult citizens (estimated at the time of the full-scale invasion), it can be roughly estimated that about 10% have left the country, and the method of telephone interviews cannot provide a reliable survey of these citizens. Even more citizens have become internally displaced persons, but they have a much smaller impact on the quality of telephone surveys, since almost all of these citizens have mobile phones and are reachable to participate in the survey (in fact, 14% of the respondents of this survey are IDPs).
Another important issue is the accessibility for the survey of the population of the territories that were occupied after February 24, 2022, due to the conduct of intensive military operations or due to interruptions in telephone communication. Now there is practically no connection. In May, 2.5-4% of respondents lived in these territories, now in the sample of residents of these territories - 0.2%. But it should be taken into account that a significant part of the population continues to leave these territories, therefore, most likely, no more than 1.5-2.5% of the total adult population of Ukraine are inaccessible due to communication problems.
In our opinion, a more significant impact on representativeness can have either a generally lower willingness of citizens with "pro-Russian" moods to participate in surveys, or the insincerity of those who did take part in the survey (given the obvious facts and prevailing opinions in the media regarding the Russian invasion , some citizens will not want to say what they really think "in public"). If to talk about the general willingness of respondents to participate in the survey, then in recent surveys we see either the same indicators or slightly lower (although it should be borne in mind that the lower willingness to participate of "pro-Russian"-minded citizens can be compensated by the higher willingness to participate of "pro-Ukrainian"-minded citizens).
We conducted a small methodological experiment in May, which shows that the citizens who are currently participating in the polls in terms of demographic characteristics and meaningful moods are close to those who participated in the polls until February 24, 2022. Preliminarily, we see some shift in the direction of "pro-Ukrainian"-minded citizens, which is reflected in up to 4-6% deviations for individual questions (in the direction of more frequent selection of answers that correspond to the "pro-Ukrainian" interpretation of events). In our opinion, this is a rather optimistic indicator in the current conditions. However, this experiment does not give an answer as to how sincere the respondents are now in their answers.
Taking into account our own observations and the experience of conducting surveys over many years, we still remain optimistic that, for the most part, respondents answer the questions sincerely. For example, the "imagined acquaintance" experiment shows little difference with the direct question. In addition, we assume that the demographic categories of citizens who have gone abroad and are unreachable for a telephone survey, at least now, do not differ very significantly in terms of a number of meaningful moods from similar demographic categories of citizens who have remained in Ukraine.
As a result, in our opinion, we should talk about a certain decrease in representativeness and an increase in error (in addition to the previously mentioned formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added due to the factors considered above), but at the same time, the obtained results still retain high representativeness and allow for a fairly reliable analysis of public moods of the population.
 The composition of the macroregions is as follows: Western macroregion – Volyn, Rivne, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Zakarpattia, Khmelnytskyi, Chernivtsi oblasts; Central macroregion - Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Chernihiv, Poltava, Kirovohrad, Cherkasy, Kyiv oblasts, Kyiv city, Southern macroregion - Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Odesa oblasts, Eastern macroregion - Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv oblasts.