Pew Research: African and Latin American Christians Are Most Committed to Faith, Prayer, and Church Attendance

Christians in sub-Saharan Africa, along with those in Latin America, are among believers who consider themselves “very religious,” praying daily and attending church at least weekly, Pew said in an analysis of studies spanning 10 years.
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Commitment to prayer, church attendance and religion is highest among Christians in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, Pew Research Center said Aug. 22 in an analysis of data collected over the past 10 years.

In the U.S., Christians register comparatively high levels of religious commitment among the most developed countries, Pew said in its analysis of 84 countries with Christian populations deemed sizable. Here, 68 percent of Christians deemed religion “very important” and just as many said they pray daily. Weekly church attendance was registered among 47 percent of U.S. Christians.

In 35 of the countries studied, at least two-thirds of Christians said religion was “very important” in their lives. All but three of those 35 countries are in sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America, namely the U.S., Malaysia and the Philippines.

More than 75 percent of Christians surveyed in each country in sub-Saharan Africa said religion was very important in their lives, voicing higher levels of prayer and church attendance. In Ethiopia, where Ethiopian Orthodoxy is the most prevalent Christian faith, 98 percent of Christians rated religion as very important.

Among Latin American countries analyzed, at least 80 percent of Christians in six countries including Guatemala, Honduras and Paraguay pray daily. More than two-thirds of Christians in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador attend church weekly, Pew said.

Religion is least important to Christians in Germany, the United Kingdom and Europe, Pew said.

“These findings reflect the broader pattern of Christianity’s ‘march southward’ from wealthy countries to developing ones,” Pew said at pewresearch.org/fact-tank. “This phenomenon is particularly evident in sub-Saharan Africa, where Christianity is rapidly growing, largely due to high fertility.”

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SOURCE: Baptist Press, Diana Chandler