U.S. adults were more likely than citizens of 13 other advanced economies to say that their religious faith, and that of the nation as a whole, has been strengthened during the global pandemic, according to a Pew Research Center report published Jan. 27.
Nearly one-third (28%) of U.S. respondents said, “their own religious faith has become stronger as a result of the coronavirus outbreak,” with the same percentage saying, “the religious faith of people in their country” became stronger during this time.
Spain (16%) had the second highest percentage of respondents who affirmed that their personal faith had been strengthened, while Italy (19%) had the second highest percentage who reported a strengthening of religious faith across the nation.
Denmark (2%) had the lowest percentage of respondents reporting that their personal faith had been strengthened during the pandemic, while Japan (5%) had the lowest percentage of those reporting that their nation’s religious faith had been strengthened.
At 9%, South Korea had the highest percentage of respondents who said that their personal faith had become weaker during the pandemic, followed by Spain (5%), and the U.S., the U.K., Belgium and the Netherlands (all at 4%).
South Korea (17%) also had the highest percentage of respondents who felt that religious faith nationwide had become weaker, followed by the U.S. (14%) and Italy, Belgium and Germany (all at 10%).
“Perceptions about the pandemic’s influence on faith are tied to people’s own levels of observance – those who are more religious are more likely than their less religious compatriots to say COVID-19 has strengthened their faith and that of others in their country,” the report said. “In nearly every country surveyed, those who say religion is very important in their lives are more likely to say both their own faith and that of their compatriots has grown due to the pandemic.”
In the U.S. white evangelical Protestants were the most likely group both to affirm that their personal faith had been strengthened (49%) and that religious faith nationwide had been strengthened (43%) during the pandemic.
By comparison, around one-third of Catholic respondents affirmed both a personal (35%) and national faith strengthening (30%), followed by white non-evangelical Protestants (21% for both) and the religiously unaffiliated (5% personal; 20% national).
The overall margin of error was plus-or-minus 3.7%.