By Aaron Earls
Slightly more than half of Americans say religion is very important to their lives. That places the U.S. in the middle of the pack globally, according to Pew Research.
With 53 percent viewing religion as very important personally, America is close to the global median of 55 percent. The U.S. most closely resembles Lebanon (57 percent), Turkey (56 percent), and Venezuela (42 percent).
America is near the top when considering only Western nations. Only Brazil (74 percent) and Peru (66 percent) are higher than the U.S., which has declined slightly in recent years.
Our neighbors to the north and south don’t see religion as important. More than a third of Mexicans (37 percent) are very religious, while even fewer Canadians say the same (27 percent).
Europe is largely irreligious. Italy has the most citizens to say religion is very important to them, but it’s still only a quarter (26 percent). Twenty-one percent of Germans, Spaniards, and British say the same. France is the least religious European nation with 14 percent saying they are very religious.
Sub-Saharan African nations dominated the top of the list, with seven of the top 10 countries. Religion is viewed as very important for almost every Ethiopian (98 percent) and Senegalese (97 percent).
The Asia and Pacific region is the most diverse, with several nations counted among the most and least religious.
America remains the outlier for the trend of wealthier nations being less religious, while poorer nations have more people who are very religious.
The U.S., the wealthiest nation in the 2015 survey based on gross domestic product per capita, is about twice as religious as the next three wealthiest countries included in the survey—Australia, Germany, and Canada.
On the other end of the religious spectrum, about 1 in 5 Americans (22 percent) say religion is “not too” or “not at all” important in their lives. That is also close to the global median of 13 percent for irreligious populations.
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.