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Women More Likely Than Men to Pray, Believe in God

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By Elena Garcia, Christian Post Reporter
March 3, 2009|1:52 pm

Women are more likely to profess belief in a God, pray and attend religious services than men, according to a new analysis of survey data.

Ahead of Women's History Month in March, the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life offered new insight on sex and religiosity based on a previous survey.

After gleaning over its 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, the Pew Forum found that women are more religious than men on a variety of measures.

When it comes to women, 86 percent are affiliated with a religion, 77 percent have absolutely certain belief in a God or a universal spirit, 63 percent say religion is very important in their lives and 44 percent attend worship services at least weekly, according to survey results.

The proportion of men who claimed such religious behavior and beliefs was lower. Compared to women, only 79 percent of men are affiliated with a religion, 65 percent have absolutely certain belief in a God or a universal spirit, 49 percent say religion is very important in their lives and 34 percent attend worship services at least weekly.

Women were also more likely than men to have absolutely certain belief in a personal God, 58 to 45 percent.

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The biggest difference in religious behaviors between men and women was their prayer habits. Sixty-six percent of women say they pray at least daily, leading men by 17 percentage points.

What accounts for this difference?

In a 2002 commentary for Gallup Poll, George H. Gallup Jr. suggested that women traditionally have tended to spend more time then men in raising children and thereby also spent more time overseeing their church activities. In the past, women usually tend to have more flexible schedules than men, permitting them the time for more involvement with the church, Gallup wrote.

Other factors, according to Gallup, that might explain why women are more religious than men included their tendency to be more open in sharing personal problems, be more relational and have more of an empirical rather than a rational basis for faith.

The Pew Forum Religious Landscape Survey, released in February 2008, also revealed that men were more likely than women to switch religious affiliation, 45 to 42 percent. Moreover, men are twice as likely to say they are atheist or agnostic compared to women, 5.5 to 2.6 percent.

Women are more likely than men to be affiliated with nearly every major Christian group, from Protestantism to Catholicism. But the situation was reversed when it came to non-Christian religions, including Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism, which more men than women are affiliated with.

 

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