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Survey: Americans divided over role of faith in their lives

A new survey finds that Americans are divided over the role their faith should play in their day-to-day lives.

The “Faith in America Survey,” conducted by The Marist College Poll, shows Americans are divided on the relationship between their faith and professional lives. Furthermore, a majority of Americans say their religion or faith plays no role in where they decide to work or shop. The survey was conducted Jan. 19-26, 2022 using 1,653 U.S. adults.

“Our overall survey looks at how Americans of different backgrounds do or do not incorporate religion and faith into key aspects of their personal and professional lives, and when it comes to faith and business the survey indicates Americans are largely comfortable with those they work with knowing their personal religious beliefs,” said Hal Boyd, Executive Editor of Deseret National which commissioned the poll. “However, a majority feel one’s religious beliefs should not influence their business decisions, and likewise, a majority of Americans, as well as Christians, report that their religion does not play a role in where they choose to work or the businesses where they shop.”

The survey continues to reveal a disconnect between personal faith and how it informs individuals in their daily lives. Highlights from the full survey include:

Americans divide over role religion should play in business.

  • For example, 47% of Americans report they strongly agree or agree that religious beliefs and values should influence someone’s business decisions, while 51% of Americans strongly disagree or disagree.
  • Survey results reflect that religious practice matters for the question, with Christians (58%) and those who practice a religion (69%) believing religion should play a role in someone’sbusiness decisions while 65% of those who do not practice a religion disagree.
  • 67% of Americans, including 72% of those currently working for pay, say they do not let their religion play a role in their own business decision-making process while 54% of those who practice religion do.
  • 57% of Christians do not factor their religion into their business decisions
  • While the majority of Americans may not factor religion into their own business decisions, 85% report they are comfortable with the people with whom they work knowing their personal religious beliefs. 87% of Christians and 90% of those who practice a religion share this perspective.
  • 70% of Americans reported they have prayed for a work colleague, while 37% said they have prayed for their business or company.
  • On the question of whether they’re very likely, likely, not very likely or not likely to look to their boss or colleague for guidance on moral living, 4% of Americans said very likely, 25% likely, 37% not very likely, 29% not likely at all, and 5% unsure.

Majority of Americans do not consider their religion when deciding where to work or shop

  • 61% of Americans said religion or faith has no role in their decision to the question of whether they consider their religion when deciding where to work or shop.
  • Similarly, 55% of Christians say their faith does not play a role in where they decide to work while 24% say it plays a minor role and 18% report religion plays a major role in where they decide to work.
  • 55% of Christians also do not consider their faith when deciding where to shop while a notable 31% say their faith plays a minor role in that decision and 13% say their faith plays a major role in their choice.
  • Majorities of all age groups say their religion or faith does not factor into where they decide to work or shop. Younger Americans age 18 to 29 are the most likely to report religion does not play a role in where they decide to work (68%) or where they shop (71%). 

Faith and social media usage: religion is not a strong influence over preferred sites, but age is

  • Half (50%) of Americans report using Facebook daily, closely matched with YouTube (48%) as the social media sites most used daily. Instagram (28%), TikTok (16%) and Twitter (15%) round out the top five.
  • Similarly, among adult Christians, Facebook (51%) tops the list of daily used social media sites, followed by YouTube (42%), Instagram (26%), TikTok (16%) and Twitter (11%). Among those who do not practice a religion, YouTube (53%) and Facebook (52%) top the list, followed by Instagram (32%), Twitter (18%) and TikTok (17%), as the platforms most used on a daily basis.
  • While religious participation does not lead to significant differences in the choice of social media site used daily, age does. YouTube is the most used social media site daily among those 18-29 (80%) and those 30-44 (66%). Only 38% of those 45-59, and 19% of those 60 or older, report using YouTube daily. Among those 45-59, Facebook (59%) is the most used daily site, and it is also the most used platform by those 60 or older, though only 36% of that age group reports using Facebook daily.

The survey of 1,653 adults was conducted Jan. 19-26, 2022, by The Marist College Poll, sponsored and funded in partnership with Deseret News.

Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the contiguous United States were contacted on landline or mobile numbers and interviewed in English by telephone using live interviewers. Mobile and landline telephone numbers were randomly selected based upon a list of telephone exchanges from throughout the nation from Dynata. Results are statistically significant within ±3.2 percentage points.

The new faith and business data is the second part of the Faith in America survey issued by Deseret News . The first survey report was issued March 21 and looked more broadly at the state of religion and faith in America, noting a growing trend of Americans retaining core religious beliefs even as they are less attached to religious practices and institutions, such as daily prayer and attending services.

–Metro Voice