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Study: Around the World, Women Are More Devout Than Men

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 03/23/16

Interesting stuff, from Pew:

Many religious groups, including Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews, allow only men to be clergy, while others, including some denominations in the evangelical Protestant tradition, have lifted that restriction only in recent decades. Yet it often appears that the ranks of the faithful are dominated by women.

In the United States, for example, women are more likely than men to say religion is “very important” in their lives (60% vs. 47%), according to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey. American women also are more likely than American men to say they pray daily (64% vs. 47%) and attend religious services at least once a week (40% vs. 32%). According to media accounts, women so outnumber men in the pews of many U.S. churches that some clergy have changed decor, music and worship styles to try to bring more men into their congregations.

…How and why men and women differ in religious commitment has been a topic of scholarly debate for decades. Even today, it continues to inspire much academic research, as well as discussions among the general public. To contribute to this ongoing conversation, Pew Research Center has amassed extensive data on gender and religion in six different faith groups (Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and the religiously unaffiliated) across scores of countries, including many with non-Christian majorities. Data on affiliation in 192 countries were collected from censuses, demographic surveys and general population surveys as part of the Center’s multiyear study projecting the size and geographic distribution of the world’s major religious groups from 2010 to 2050.  Data on religious beliefs and practices come from international Pew Research Center surveys of the general population in 84 countries conducted between 2008 and 2015.

Based on these wide-ranging and comprehensive datasets, this study finds that, globally, women are more devout than men by several standard measures of religious commitment. But the study also reveals a more complex relationship between religion and gender than has been commonly assumed. While women generally are more religious, men display higher levels of religious commitment in some countries and religious groups. And in other contexts, there are few, if any, discernable gender differences in religion.

Read it all.

Photo: Pixabay

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