NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Report Says U.S. More Religious than Other Developed Countries

December 20, 2002

Religion plays a much more important role in the lives of Americans than it does in the lives of Europeans and Japanese, a survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project reveals.

  • American attitudes are much closer to those of people in developing countries than they are to the peoples of other industrialized countries, the report asserts.
  • Six in 10 Americans say religion plays a "very important" role in their lives -- making the U.S. about twice as religious as Canada and far more inclined to faith than people in Western Europe and Japan.
  • France has Western Europe's most secular public with just 11 percent saying religion plays a "very" important role in their lives, while the English turned out to be the most religious in Western Europe -- with one-third saying religion was very important to them.
  • The highest consistent interest in religion seems to be among predominantly Muslim nations -- such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Mali and Senegal, where more than 90 percent of the public say religion is very important to them.

Forty-four nations were involved in the poll. China, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon were excluded because the questions were deemed to be too sensitive to ask.

Source: Larry Witham, "U.S. Religiousness Tops Among World's Nations," Washington Times, December 20, 2002.


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