Survey: Americans more likely to say that pandemic strengthened their faith
Washington D.C., Jan 27, 2021 / 12:37 pm MT (CNA).- Americans are more likely than people in other developed countries to say their faith has strengthened during the pandemic, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.
The survey, published on Wednesday, found that while more than two-thirds of Americans (68%) said their faith “has not changed much” during the coronavirus pandemic, almost one-third of Americans (28%) said their faith has grown stronger because of the pandemic.
Americans were more likely than citizens of other developed countries to say their faith has strengthened.
In Spain, only 16% of respondents said their faith had grown stronger because of the pandemic, while Italy and Canada followed at 15% and 13%, respectively. Only 3% of respondents in Sweden said their faith has grown stronger, and only 2% answered this way in Denmark.
Religious adherence played a role in the answers, Pew noted. Those identifying as religious were more likely to say that their faith has been strengthened than those who did not identify as religious.
Among American Catholics in particular, 35% of those surveyed by Pew said their own faith has grown stronger because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, 30% of Catholics said they believe the faith of fellow Americans has strengthened during the pandemic.
The survey also found that, despite many people not having access to in-person worship services for much of the pandemic, a mere 4% of American respondents said their faith has weakened.
Despite “trends toward secularization” in the U.S. and in many European countries, religion “continues to play a stronger role in American life than in many other economically developed countries,” the authors of the report wrote.
“Americans’ greater proclivity to turn to religion amid the pandemic is largely driven by the relatively high share of religious Americans,” they wrote.
The survey also found that 41% of Americans said that their family bonds have grown stronger during the pandemic, compared to 50% who said their family bond “has not changed much.”
Pew noted that its new survey followed an October, 2020 survey that found 355 of Americans said the pandemic “carries one or more lessons from God.”
The results of the new survey are comparable to an April, 2020 Pew survey, published as public Masses were suspended throughout the United States.
At that time, about 24% of American respondents told Pew that their faith had grown stronger amid the pandemic, while 27% of Catholic respondents said the same.
The April, 2020 survey also found that 55% of American respondents said they have prayed for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, including about 68% of Catholics.
According to the new report, previous studies have found “an uptick in religious observance after people experience a calamity.”