WASHINGTON (RNS) African-Americans surpass others in the U.S. in a range of expressions of faith, from praying more to attending religious services more frequently, a new report shows.
“Compared with other racial and ethnic groups, African-Americans are among the most likely to report a formal religious affiliation, with fully 87 percent of African-Americans describing themselves as belonging to one religious group or another,” states “A Religious Portrait of African-Americans,” released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life on Friday (Jan. 30.)
The analysis finds that:
— 79 percent of blacks say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 56 percent of all U.S. adults
— 76 percent say they pray on at least daily, compared to 58 percent of the total U.S. population
–88 percent believe in God with absolute certainty, compared to 71 percent of all U.S. adults
— 83 percent believe in angels and demons, compared to 68 percent of the total U.S. population.
–53 percent of African-Americans report attending religious services at least weekly, compared to 39 percent of Americans overall.
The research, drawn from Pew’s 2007 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, showed that most African-Americans — 59 percent — are affiliated with historically black churches.
Another 15 percent belong to evangelical churches, 4 percent to mainline Protestant churches, and 5 percent to Catholic churches. One percent each are affiliated with Jehovah’s Witness and Muslim congregations, and 12 percent are unaffiliated.
Even blacks who are not affiliated with congregations demonstrated significant religious interest. Almost three-quarters of Africans-Americans who are unaffiliated with a particular faith say religion plays at least a “somewhat important” role in their lives.
Almost half — 45 percent — of unaffiliated African-Americans say it is “very important in their lives. In comparison, 16 percent of the overall population of unaffiliated Americans said religion is very important.
By Adelle M. Banks
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