“What makes life meaningful?”
This is an open-ended question asked in a 2021 survey by Pew Research Center to 17 advanced economies. Analysts found that while many people find meaning in their surroundings, both in terms of society and nature, some also mentioned religion.
As Statista’s Anna Fleck shows in the following graphic, religion and spirituality was mentioned more frequently among US adults, compared to those living in other advanced economies.
Pew analysts also ranked the most frequently mentioned topics, finding that in the US religion came up as the fifth most highly mentioned topic.
By contrast, only one percent of French respondents mentioned spirituality, faith and religion when describing what gives them meaning in life.
Even for this one percent, the topic was less front of mind than it was for their US counterparts, ranking in 15th place.
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These figures may seem low due to the open-ended nature of the question, which increases the range of different possible responses. Respondents who answered with reference to God or to religious communities, church attendance and general mention of spirituality or a higher power were counted for these results.
According to the Pew Research Center, mention of religion was fairly similar across age, income, education or gender categories.
That is, apart from in the US, where older adults and Republicans or Republican-leaning independents were more likely to mention the topic than Democrats.
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