December 23rd, 2011
05:49 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – People who are religiously active live more involved and connected lives, according to a Pew Research study released on Friday.
The study, titled “The civic and community engagement of religious active Americans,” painted a broad picture of religious Americans and found that involvement in religious organizations usually go hand-in-hand with participation in civic organizations and a positive outlook on their community.
“There is something unique about religious and spiritual involved people that contribute to their trust, positive outlook, involvement and engagement in the community,” said Jim Jansen, senior fellow at Pew and the leader of the study.
Pew asked Americans about their membership in 28 different kinds of organizations and clubs. The average person not involved with a religious organization participated in 2.11 groups. That compares to an average of 5.11 groups that religious Americans were involved in.
Additionally, 45% view their community as an excellent place to live, compared with 34% of those not active with religious groups. According to Jansen, that involvement and outlook contributes to the fact that religiously active Americans believe they can have a major impact on their community more than non-religious Americans.
“There are probably multiple variables at play,” said Jansen. “But people that belong to a religious organization are by nature likely to belong to things.
But these results are, by Jansen’s admission, difficult and complex with plenty of variables at play. Even so, said Jansen, when you control for factors like age and income, “religiosity was a factor in most of this analysis.”
The study, conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project, also focused on American’s use of technology. And what it found was that religious Americans use technology slightly more than non-religious Americans.
“Those who are active in religious groups seem to be joiners” said Jansen and their use of technology may be tied to their desire to get involved in their community.
The results in the Pew report were collected by phone interviews with 2,303 adults. The reports margin of error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.
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