A new survey reports that an overwhelming majority of people in the world believes in the importance of religion — but it breaks down largely along economic lines:
More than eight in ten adults in the world say religion is an important part of their daily lives, according to Gallup surveys conducted last year in 114 countries.
And, as past surveys have found, there remains a strong correlation between a country’s socioeconomic status and the religiosity of its residents.
In the world’s poorest countries – those with average per-capita incomes of $2,000 or less – the median proportion who say religion is important in their daily lives is 95 percent, reported Gallup on Tuesday.
In contrast, the median for the richest countries – those with average per-capita incomes over $25,000 – is 47 percent.
“Social scientists have put forth numerous possible explanations for the relationship between the religiosity of a population and its average income level,” noted Gallup editor Steve Crabtree.
“One theory is that religion plays a more functional role in the world’s poorest countries, helping many residents cope with a daily struggle to provide for themselves and their families. A previous Gallup analysis supports this idea,” he added.
In Gallup’s 2009 analysis of surveys conducted in 143 countries in the three years prior, the organization found that a relationship between religiosity and emotional well-being is stronger among those in poor countries than among those in the developed world.
There’s more at the link.