How religious is your country?

Based on a recent Gallup poll of 143 countries (China is the most notable exception), there’s some fascinating data and commentary from an American perspective here.
A few key points are:

  • “A population’s religiosity level is strongly related to its average standard of living. Gallup’s World Poll, for example, indicates that 8 of the 11 countries in which almost all residents (at least 98%) say religion is important in their daily lives are poorer nations in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the 10 least religious countries studied include several with the world’s highest living standards, including Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Hong Kong, and Japan.”
  • “Social scientists have noted that one thing that makes Americans distinctive is our high level of religiosity relative to other rich-world populations. Among 27 countries commonly seen as part of the developed world, the median proportion of those who say religion is important in their daily lives is just 38%. From this perspective, the fact two-thirds of Americans respond this way makes us look extremely devout.”
  • “… there is wide regional variation in religiosity across the 50 American states … Lining up these percentages with those on our worldwide list allows us to match residents of the most religious states to the global populations with which they are similar in terms of religiosity … Alabamians, for example, are about as likely as Iranians to say religion is an important part or their lives. Georgians in the United States are about as religious as Georgians in the Caucasus region.”


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