Poll indicates COVID-19 strengthened faith, family worldwide

Thursday, February 25, 2021
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

family praying at mealtimeDespite the difficult challenges that COVID-19 has forced people to face around the globe, results from a poll released this year show that that the pandemic had a positive effect on individuals' faith and on family life in each of the 14 nations surveyed.

The Pew Research Center found last summer that despite governments across the world closing church doors, the faith of those living in the 14 countries polled was much more likely to have strengthened, rather than weakened, during the coronavirus pandemic.

The nations surveyed last summer include: the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Canada, South Korea, Belgium, Japan, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, with the U.S. leading the way with more than one in four walking away with a stronger faith due to COVID-19. Here are Pew's top eight:

  1. U.S.– 28% stronger, 4% weaker
  2. Spain– 16% stronger, 5% weaker
  3. Italy– 15% stronger, 3% weaker
  4. Canada– 13% stronger, 2% weaker
  5. France – 10% stronger, 3% weaker
  6. Australia – 10% stronger, 2% weaker
  7. U.K. – 10% stronger, 4% weaker
  8. South Korea – 10% stronger, 9% weaker

Those prioritizing religion as "very important" were asked if COVID-19 strengthened their religious faith – and Spain led the way, with nearly half of those in this category agreeing. Half of the 14 nations surveyed saw at least a third of their devout religious adherents agreeing that the hard times has made them closer to God: Spain (49%), U.S. (45%), Italy (44%), Canada (40%), Australia (38%), UK (33%), France (33%).

One trend noticed was that people with lower incomes were more inclined to say the pandemic strengthened their faith than those with higher incomes, with the U.S. and Spain leading the top five nations in the discrepancy between the two groups:

  1. U.S. – 34% lower income vs. 22% higher income (+12 difference)
  2. Spain – 21% lower income vs. 9% higher income (+12 difference)
  3. Canada – 19% lower income vs. 10% higher income (+9 difference)
  4. Italy – 19% lower income vs. 11% higher income (+8 difference)
  5. UK- 14% lower income vs. 7% higher income (+7 difference)

When white evangelical Protestants (49%), Catholics (35%), white non-evangelical Protestants (21%), and those unaffiliated with a particular religious group (5%) were asked if their faith grew because of COVID-19, the former group indicated the most spiritual growth.

When white evangelical Protestants (49%), Catholics (35%), white non-evangelical Protestants (21%), and those unaffiliated with a particular religious group (5%) were asked if their faith grew because of COVID-19, the former group indicated the most spiritual growth.

All in the family …

When it comes to the effect COVID-19 has had on families, a significant percentage of those surveyed in most countries said the pandemic has tightened their family bonds – with Spain leading the way in the top five: Spain (42%), Italy (41%), UK (41%), U.S. (41%) and Canada (37%).

It was also discovered in Pew's survey that younger adults – when compared to older adults – were more likely to say COVID-19 strengthened their bonds with immediate family members. This trend in age groups is seen with all top five countries, with Spain and Belgium showing the greatest disparity between the youngest and oldest (+20):

  1. Spain: 18–29 (54%), 30–49 (46%), 50+ (34%)
  2. Belgium: 18–29 (44%), 30–49 (37%), 50+ (24%)
  3. Australia: 18–29 (40%), 30–49 (37%), 50+ (27%)
  4. Sweden: 18–29 (36%), 30–49 (30%), 50+ (23%)
  5. U.S.: 18–29 (50%), 30–49 (41%), 50+ (38%)    

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