Faith is one way some people cope with crisis. But according to a new Pew Research survey of 14 countries, the coronavirus pandemic has not significantly boosted people’s faith.
However, of all the people surveyed, Americans were most likely to say the pandemic made their faith stronger. And of all religious groups in the U.S. surveyed, white evangelicals reported the highest percentage of people who said their faith grew stronger during the pandemic—nearly half (49%).
COVID-19 has infected 100 million people worldwide and killed more than 2 million.
The survey, which was fielded this past summer, showed majorities or pluralities in all the countries surveyed did not feel their faith has been strengthened by the pandemic. This included 68% of U.S. adults who say their own faith has not changed much, while 28% reported a stronger personal faith as a result of COVID-19.
“Americans’ greater proclivity to turn to religion amid the pandemic is largely driven by the relatively high share of religious Americans,” the report said.
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By contrast, in Denmark only 2% said their faith had grown; in the U.K. 10% said it had grown.
In the U.S., the religious group second most likely to say their faith increased, behind white evangelicals, were Catholics, with 35% reporting a rise. Among mainline Protestants, 21% said their faith was bolstered by the pandemic, while 5% of people who do not affiliate with any religion said their faith grew.
In times of crisis, people also turn to family. Researchers for the survey asked respondents if their relationships with immediate family members have grown. The survey found that among the 14 countries, a median of 32% said relationships have grown stronger. Only 8% said the opposite.
In the U.S., young Americans, many of whom have moved back in with their parents, are more likely than their older counterparts to say their relationships with immediate family members have strengthened. Half of U.S. adults aged 18 to 29 said their family bonds have tightened, compared with 38% of those ages 50 and older.
The survey was conducted from June 10 to Aug. 3, 2020, among 14,276 adults in 14 countries: the United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and South Korea.