The Pew Research Center’s 2015 Global Attitudes survey measured the degree to which people around the world value religion in their personal lives. The results show that poorer and less stable countries tend to be more religious, although there are some interesting outliers to this pattern.
The above data is drawn from over 45,400 interviews from adults spanning the forty subjection nations. (You can learn more about the methodology here.)
The U.S. is unique among rich countries for being fairly devout: a slight majority of Americans (53 percent) identify religion as playing a big role in their lives. That is larger than Mexico, Vietnam, and China.
Nevertheless, the U.S. is far less pious than it used to be, according to other Pew surveys.
As more of the developing world continues to get richer, will there be a concurrent decline in religious devotion? Other data from Pew suggest that the irreligious — which broadly includes atheists, agnostics, deists, and those otherwise lacking a religious identity — will indeed grow in number over the next several decades; however, the share of the world projected to be non-religious will actually decline relative to the heady growth of the world’s major faiths, namely Christianity and Islam (and to a lesser degree Hinduism).
With the convergence of growing prosperity, and subsequent secularization, concurrent with the higher natural growth rate of religious communities, one can foresee a global climate increasingly fraught with religious conflict. Here is hoping pluralism and moderation win the day. Such values will be necessary for certain societies, and the world at large, to survive.
What are your thoughts?