Amid the negative news, is there a family silver lining to the ongoing pandemic?
Yes, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center. The poll found that 28 percent of Americans said their own religious faith “has become stronger” during the pandemic, while 41 percent said their relationship with their immediate family members has strengthened. Taken together, the data mean 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.
The United States leads the world in the percentage of citizens who said 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 and South Korea) tied for fifth at 10 percent.
“The United States 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.”
Only 4 percent said the pandemic weakened their faith. White evangelicals (49 percent) are the religious subgroup most likely to say their faith strengthened during the pandemic. About one-third of Catholics (35 percent) said their faith grew. Lower-income individuals (34 percent) in the United States 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. In the United States, 41 percent said their family bond has become stronger, while 50 percent said it has not changed much and 8 percent said 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).
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice