More than one-fourth of Americans say the Covid-19 pandemic strengthened their religious faith, and even more say they grew closer to their immediate family during the outbreak, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The poll found that 28 percent of Americans say their own religious faith “has become stronger” during the pandemic, while 41 percent say their relationship with their immediate family members has strengthened. Taken together, the data means that for tens of millions of Americans, the pandemic had a positive impact on their lives.
Both numbers are at or near the top when compared to the attitudes of people in other countries.
America leads the world in the percentage of citizens who say the pandemic strengthened their faith. Spain (16 percent) is second, followed by Italy (15 percent) and Canada (13 percent). Four countries (Australia, United Kingdom, France, South Korea) tied for fifth at 10 percent.
“The U.S. has by far the highest share of respondents who say their faith has strengthened,” a Pew analysis of the data said. “... The pandemic has led to the cancellation of religious activities and in-person services around the world, but few people say their religious faith has weakened as a result of the outbreak.”
In the U.S., only 4 percent say the pandemic weakened their faith.
White evangelicals (49 percent) are the religious subgroup most likely to say their faith strengthened during the pandemic, according to Pew. About one-third of Catholics (35 percent) say their faith grew.
Lower-income individuals (34 percent) in the U.S. are more likely to say their faith grew stronger than are those in a higher income (22 percent).
The findings are similar to a Pew survey from last Spring, when 24 percent of Americans said their faith strengthened during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the pandemic also resulted in the strengthening of families, the newest Pew poll says.
In the U.S., 41 percent say their family bond has become stronger, while 50 percent say it has not changed much, and 8 percent say it has weakened. Spain narrowly leads the world in this category, with 42 percent of its citizens saying their family relationships strengthened. The United States tied for second with Italy and the United Kingdom, followed by Canada (37 percent).
Photo credit: Unsplash/Eye-for-Ebony
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.