Religious practices and information
How many people outside of North
|The United States has a higher level of church attendance than any other country which is "at a comparable level of development."|
|53% of Americans consider religion to be very important in their lives. This compares with 16% in Britain, 14% in France and 13% in Germany.|
|The importance of religion has been declining in developed countries.|
|In those countries which are "experiencing economic stagnation and political uncertainty," the importance of religion is high.|
Political scientist Ronald Inglehart, one of the authors of the Institute's 1998 survey commented: "Although church attendance is declining in nearly all advanced industrial societies, spiritual concerns more broadly defined are not. In fact, in most industrial societies, a growing share of the population is spending time thinking about the meaning and purpose of life." 1
In order of decreasing attendance:
|Czech Republic||14% *|
* Based on 1990-1991 survey data.
These numbers are somewhat suspect. Church attendance data in the U.S. has been checked against actual values using two different techniques. The true figures show that only about 20% of Americans and 10% of Canadians actually go to church one or more times a week. Many Americans and Canadians tell pollsters that they have gone to church even though they have not. Whether this happens in other countries, with different cultures, is difficult to predict.
The Institute's 1998 study involved almost 166,000 people. They found that church attendance was in decline in 15 of 19 industrialized democracies. Only two showed small increases: Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Attendance in East Germany continues to decline, having dropped from 20% in 1991 to 9% in 1998. Five of eight ex-communist societies show an increase in church attendance. 2
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Copyright © 1999 to 2007 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Latest update: 2007-AUG-10
Author: B.A. Robinson
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