Worldwide, Highly Religious More Likely to Help Others

Pattern holds throughout the world and across major religions

Gallup Polls conducted in more than 140 countries worldwide between 2006 and 2008 show that those whose responses identify them as highly religious are more likely than less religious respondents to report that they have engaged in each of three “helping behaviors” in the past month. In all four major global regions, for example, highly religious people are more likely than those who report being less religious to report having donated money to a charity in that time.

The pattern is similar when Gallup asked respondents whether they had volunteered their time to an organization in the month prior to being surveyed. Though the overall numbers are lower here in all regions except Africa, highly religious respondents are again more likely to say “yes” than those who are less religious.

One question these findings raise is the degeree to which highly religious people reserve their charitable activities for members of their own religious communities. After all, many religions encourage – or even require – members to donate their time or money to their local faith-based organizations. Are highly religious people also more likely than those who are less religious to say they’ve helped a stranger in the past month? The answer is yes – though the differences are smaller in this case.

The “religion effects” we see in these questions are consistent not only across the major global regions, but also consistent across the world’s largest faith traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduisim, Buddhism, and Judaism. Among respondents who identified with each of these major religions, those who fall into the highly religious category are more likely than those who are less religious to say they’ve engaged in all three helping behaviors, with differences for helping a stranger ranging from 7 percentage points among Buddhists to 15 points among Jews.

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It also says that the tendency of highly religious people to help others is more impressive given that highly religious people are consistently poorer than those who are less religious. Average GDP for highly religious $10,000, average GDP for non highly religious $17,500.

Also interesting: In More Religious Countries, Lower Suicide Rates

Though I am thankful for this article, I would LOVE to see Catholicism and Protestant Christianity rates broken down instead of lumped together. :heart: :heart: :heart: :):D:D:D:p

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