U.S. citizens who are “highly religious” – praying daily and attending religious services weekly – tend to be happier, to spend time with extended family and to volunteer, according to the Pew Research Center.

Forty percent of highly religious individuals said they are “very happy” with their life, compared to 29 percent of other respondents.

They were also more likely than the rest of the population to spend time with extended family on a monthly basis, by a 47 percent to 30 percent margin.

An even wider gap emerged when questions were posed about volunteering time and resources to help those in need.

Forty five percent of highly religious respondents said that they had volunteered in the past week, compared to 28 percent of others.

Similarly, 65 percent of highly religious persons affirmed donating time, money or other items to the poor in the past week, while only 41 percent of others did so.

“These differences are found not only in the U.S. adult population as a whole but also within a variety of religious traditions (such as between Catholics who are highly religious and those who are less religious), and they persist even when controlling for other factors, including age, income, education, geographic region of residence, marital status and parental status,” Pew noted.

Pew’s research found several areas in which highly religious Americans were no different than other citizens: managing stress, health and wellness, and recycling.

The full results of the survey are available here.

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