The world has long been divided when it comes to the existence of otherworldly beings, with many across the globe reporting UFO sightings each year, despite many others considering themselves non-believers.
According to the 2022 Report by UFO Identified, England was home to the most sightings last year across the UK, particularly during the summer months of August and July – though if the aliens were looking for some summer sunshine, they may have landed in the wrong place.
To find out more, we recently surveyed 2,000 UK adults on whether they believe in aliens. We also explored where in the UK is most active for alien sightings by analysing reports of UFO’s.
It's clear to see from our survey that a large percentage of the nation think we are not alone in this universe, with over a third (35%) – the equivalent of more than 23 million people in Britain – claiming to believe in extra-terrestrials!
It is those aged 25–34 who are the most likely to believe in aliens, with over half (51%) confirming that they do.
35–44-year-olds aren’t far behind, with 4 in 10 (41%) stating that they believe aliens exist too. As Steven Spielberg’s iconic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was released in 1982, could it be that those in this age bracket have been influenced by their favourite childhood movie?
Despite this, the majority (45%) of the UK still consider themselves non-believers, while a further 20% claim to be on the fence, stating they are “not sure” if aliens exist.
Those aged over 65 are the least likely to be convinced, with less than one in five (18%) in this age group claiming to believe in extra-terrestrials.
In terms of visits from our far-away friends, one in 20 people (5% of the population) revealed they have either personally seen an alien or a UFO or know someone who has.
Despite the fact that half of 25–34-year-olds in the UK claim to believe in aliens, only 3% have actually seen or know someone who has seen a mystery life form from another planet.
Whilst less than a fifth (18%) of those aged 65+ admitted believing in aliens, this is the age group with the highest number of sightings, with 7% saying they, or someone they know has spotted an otherworldly being!
When analysing our data from a regional perspective, it only reinforces how divided the nation remains regarding the actual existence of alien life.
Over in the Northern Irish capital, over half (63%) of Belfast residents claim to believe in aliens, making this the city with the most believers in the UK. But interestingly, despite this, none of the Belfast residents surveyed could personally recall a UFO sighting!
Many of those who live in London are also convinced that alien life forms exist, with 41% of residents stating to have every confidence in the presence of otherworldly beings, despite only 5% of those quizzed recalling a sighting or knowing someone else who has – although this still equates to around 482,400 individuals in London.
According to our survey, there were multiple reports of both white and silver “disk-like objects” in the sky in London, while another male aged between 25-34 claimed to see aliens ‘frequently’, affirming that he sees them out of his window ‘most nights’; “I live near a military base so it’s not uncommon”, he explained. Could this be a case for Mulder and Scully?
Bristolians are also more likely to accept the existence of extra-terrestrials, as 39% of those surveyed claimed to be supportive of the idea that they exist. One Bristol resident even stated that their “friend claims to have seen a UFO flying over Snowdonia”. Maybe this alien wanted to check out the views from the summit!
The Northern cities of Leeds (38%), Newcastle (35%) and Manchester (33%) are also not far behind, and upon reviewing the comments from respondents, it seems as though these cities are their own UFO hotbeds. A man from Leeds claimed that his wife “watched a UFO fly over her house slowly and then take off at hyper speed” whilst a female resident in Newcastle described noticing “red lights in the shape of a triangle”.
By contrast, some UK cities aren’t ready to accept the existence of otherworldly beings. As such, Norwich is home to the least convinced residents, with less than a quarter (23%) of those surveyed saying that they believe in aliens. The cities of Sheffield and Southampton are also home to many non-believers, with 76% of respondents in both cities refuting the idea of alien life. Tough crowd!
However, curiously, according to the survey data, it is those in Norwich and Sheffield that have logged the most UFO sightings, with just under 1 in 10 (9%) stating to have either seen an alien or UFO or know someone who has. This equates to just over 13,000 people in Norwich and 67,000 in Sheffield - maybe seeing isn't always believing after all...
One Norwich resident aged between 25-34 even described seeing a “a big light hovering over a house not far from where I live. It stayed there a minute then suddenly it disappeared.” while a resident in Sheffield recalls seeing “something unexplainable in the sky which then shot off at great speed”.
Other places in the UK that reported extra-terrestrial activity include Cardiff where, according to our survey comments, a female aged 65+ said “their father saw an alien craft hovering over the house opposite” with another resident stating that their husband saw “lights very low over our house, in formation, flying slowly at night.”
Perhaps the most interesting sightings were recorded in Birmingham however; one female resident aged between 35-44 recalls spotting “strange lights in the sky about 10-11 years ago in a triangular formation”, while another individual aged 65+ described even seeing “funny creatures” walking around his residence and noted they were also “trying to attract” people towards them. Could Close Encounters Of The Third Kind be happening in real life, in the West Midlands?
So, where in the UK claims to have had the most sightings?
To determine which counties are UFO hotspots, we looked at the number of sightings in each city from our national survey and combined this with data from UFO incidents reported to local police stations last year and the 2022 report from UFO Identified.
According to our research, the place you’re most likely to encounter a UFO in the UK is in Greater London where 614 sightings were reported, dwarfing the number of sightings in second place location, Greater Manchester (181), and third place location, West Midlands (172).
The counties in which you’d be least likely to have a run in with a UFO were Herefordshire and the Isle of Wight, with just one sighting recorded in each, with Worcestershire and Cumbria following closely behind, both only logging two sightings.
The North-Eastern counties of Northumberland and Country Durham were also found to be light on the ground in terms of UFO activity, with both only recording three sightings each.
Top 10 Counties for UFO Sightings
Total Number of Sightings Recorded
|Tyne and Wear
Bottom 10 Counties for UFO Sightings
Total Number of Sightings Recorded
|Isle of Wight
To conclude, it appears the UK is still fairly divided when it comes to deciphering whether aliens really do exist.
Although over a third (35%) of those surveyed do believe in extra-terrestrial life forms, 45% don't, and a further fifth (20%) are on the fence or unsure.
That being said, according to our research there were still 2,331 reported UFO sightings in the UK during 2022. Sightings in Greater London made up a large proportion of these (614), followed by the likes of Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire - proving you might not have to travel as far as Area 51 to spot some UFO’s!
Conversely, places like Herefordshire, the Isle of Wight, Cumbria, Worcestershire, Northumberland and County Durham all logged just three sightings or less each and are clearly not the place to be if you’re on the lookout for an alien spaceship.
It also appears that no two UFO encounters are the same, with people seeing everything from silver disks in the sky to unexplained triangular light formations, with some respondents even claiming to have encountered aliens in person.
While the UFO debate may continue to rumble on for some time yet, there are now seemingly more sightings being reported in the UK than ever before – maybe E.T. really is still trying to phone home?
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