Are religiously active people happier than most?
A new study conducted by Pew Research Center shows that in some cases, religiously active people are happier and healthier than the alternative.
According to the study, “researchers divided survey-takers into three categories: the “actively religious,” who identify with a religion and attend a house of worship at least monthly; the “inactively religious,” who identify with a religion but attend less frequently; and the unaffiliated (or “nones”), who do not identify with any religion.”
In the survey – that was given to 26 countries world-wide – the study indicated five major findings, according to Pew Research.
- Actively religious people are more likely than their less-religious peers to describe themselves as “very happy”
- There is not a clear connection between religiosity and the likelihood that people will describe themselves as being in “very good” overall health
- The actively religious are generally less likely than the unaffiliated to smoke and drink.
- People who attend religious services at least monthly often are more likely than “nones” to join other types of (nonreligious) organizations, such as charities and clubs.
- The actively religious generally are more likely than others to vote.
The United States produced interesting comparable percentages in each of the categories. The US reported that 36% of the “actively religious” survey-takers were “very happy”, while a mere 25% of “inactive religious” individuals consider themselves to be very happy. Also, 58% of individuals that identified as actively religious were involve with other charitable organizations whereas 39% of ‘unaffiliated’ individuals were. Interestingly, it was reported that 69% of actively religious people indicated they were likely to vote in elections, compared to 48% of ‘unaffiliated’ individuals.
According to the data collected from Pew Research Center, it seems that individuals who identify as “actively religious” consider themselves to be happier in many areas of their life. One thing to note, the survey does not specify which religions are being studied. Using the term “religion” loosely, it can be assumed that the “religion” being looked at is the one most common to each of the 26 countries.
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