Pew Survey: Americans Pray More than Citizens of Any Other Wealthy Nation

(Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

The U.S. beats out every other wealthy nation in church-goers, but even two-thirds of Americans who do not attend church regularly say it is not from lack of belief, according to a new Pew Research study.

Of those who do not go to church more than a few times a year, only 28 percent say it is because they are not believers. Two-thirds of that group cited other reasons for their decision not to attend religious services more frequently. The biggest portion, 37 percent, say they practice their faith in other ways, and another 23 percent say they have not found a church they like.

Of Americans who gave reasons other than non-belief for avoiding regular church services, the vast majority, 91 percent, are Christian. Those who avoid religious services because of lack of belief tend to be younger, male, highly-educated, and Democrats. About three-fourths of those who say they lean Democratic told Pew that they do not attend church services because they do not believe.

55 percent of Americans say they pray at least once a day, an anomaly among wealthy countries. In every other nation surveyed with a per capita GDP over $30,000, under 40 percent of people said their lives include daily prayer.

The U.S. has a prayer rate comparable to much poorer countries such as South Africa, where 52 percent of people pray every day, and Bangladesh, where 57 percent do.

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