African-American Men More Religious Than White Women Despite Gender Gap, Data Shows

A man seen praying in this undated photo.
A man seen praying in this undated photo. | (Photo: Reuters/Danish Ismail)

While data has shown that women tend to be more religious than men, a new analysis shows that black men tend to be more "highly religious" than white and Hispanic women.

Using data from its 2014 Religious Landscape Study, the Pew Research Center reported Wednesday that black women tend to be the most religious demographic, with 80 percent of them saying that religion is "very important" to them. By comparison, 69 percent of black men said the same.

As for white women, only 55 percent said that their religion is very important to them, while 65 percent of Hispanic women said the same. Only 43 percent of white men and 53 percent of Hispanic women said religion was very important to them

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The polling firm also found that 78 percent of black men say they believe in God with "absolute certainty," while 67 percent of white women and 65 percent of Hispanic women said the same. White and hispanic men were equally as likely at 54 percent to say that they believed with "absolute certainty." Black women (86 percent) were most likely to believe in God with "absolute certainty."

However, black men seemed to lose a little muster when it comes to church attendance.

While more than half of black women said they attended services weekly, only 40 percent of black men said they attend service on a weekly basis. Meanwhile, the data indicates that slightly more Hispanic women (45 percent) attend church on a weekly basis than black men. Thirty-seven percent of white women said the same.

White men were least devout in their attendance, with just 30 percent (compared to 33 percent of Hispanic men) saying the same.

Sixty-five percent of black men said they pray daily, while 66 percent of Hispanic women said they prayed daily. Sixty percent of white women said they pray daily. White men once again placed last at 43 percent, with 48 percent of Hispanic men, praying daily.

Combining its four questions on the matter, Pew developed a method to calculate the percentage of each group that can be considered "highly religious." The designation requires respondents to attend church once a week, pray daily, say their religion is very important to them and believe in God with absolute certainty.

As a result, 70 percent of black men involved in the study could be considered, by Pew's definition, to be "highly religious." That is compared to 67 percent of Hispanic women and 58 percent of white women who could be grouped in that same category.

Eighty-three percent of black women were considered highly religious, while 50 percent of Hispanic men and 44 percent of white men also met those requirements.

Pew has extensively analyzed the faith of black Americans, which they have shown over the years to be the most religious demographic.

The new analysis shows that black men are able to defy the gender gap as it relates to women of other ethnicities, although Pew data has shown that "women [globally] are more devout than men by several standard measures of religious commitment."

In May, Pew noted that African-Americans (54 percent) are more likely than other people groups to read the Bible at least once per week outside of religious services. Meanwhile, 32 percent of whites and 38 percent of Hispanics said the same.

"For African Americans, the Bible's Exodus narrative is a cultural touchstone," A Pew analysis reads. "Since before the Civil War, the story of the Israelites' slavery and deliverance has spurred comparisons to black people's experiences in the United States."

In July, another Pew analysis found that black millennials tend to be more religious than other millennials.

It should be noted that, according to Pew, men can display higher levels of religious commitment than women in some other countries and religious groups.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith Follow Samuel Smith on Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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