Survey: Very religious rate higher on “well being” scale
February 17th, 2012
05:59 AM ET

Survey: Very religious rate higher on “well being” scale

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Very religious people rate higher – compared to the moderately religious and nonreligious – on a Gallup “well being” survey released Thursday.

According to the survey, very religious people from all religious groups surveyed higher than their nonreligious brethren. Very religious Jews scored highest on the survey with a score of 72.4. Very religious Mormons finished a close second with 71.5.

By comparison, moderately and non religious Jews scored in the 68 percentile, while moderately and non religious Mormons scored in the 63 percentile.

Gallup defines well being based on a number of emotional and physical health indexes in their Well-Being Index.

“The findings confirm that the strong positive relationship between religiosity and wellbeing that Gallup previously demonstrated holds regardless of faith,” stated a release by researchers Frank Newport, Dan Witters and Sangeeta Agrawal.

Though the difference from the top was only about 7 points, those who identified as not religious, atheist or agnostic finished at the bottom of the scale with 65.8 points.

“The relationship appears to be largely independent of the proportions of very religious, moderately religious, and nonreligious in each religious group, and it is more closely aligned with the faith itself,” the release stated.

An example: while Muslims have a lower level of well being than Jews, the gap between the most and least religious constituencies is roughly the same.

The results of the survey also show that Mormons are by far the most religious group surveyed.

Seventy-three percent of Mormons identified as very religious, compared to 50 percent of Protestants, 46 percent of Muslims and 43 percent of Roman Catholics.

In comparison, people from other non-Christian religions and Jews were predominantly nonreligious with 43.7 and 53.5 percent respectively identifying as such.

The survey was compiled from 676,000 interviews and has an error range of plus or minus less than one percent. These interviews were conducted from January 2010 to December 2011.

The data is part of a multipart Gallup series on “religiosity and wellbeing in America.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Judaism • Mormonism • Polls • Protestant

soundoff (687 Responses)
  1. Truthship

    So glad the Mormon Church apologised to Jews for Baptizing their dead. Now how do I get that same consideration? Speaking of apologies, if Romney wins Republican nomination it would be interesting if Obama asked Mitt how he explained his support for the black mans Mormon ‘Mark-of -Cain’  when he was on his LDS mission in the 1960’s.  Google ‘Mark of Cain’. Its high time the LDS church and Mitt apologised for that racism.

    February 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • myklds

      "it would be interesting if Obama asked Mitt how he explained his support for the black mans Mormon ‘Mark-of -Cain’ when he was on his LDS mission in the 1960’s. Google ‘Mark of Cain’. Its high time the LDS church and Mitt apologised for that racism."

      It would be less likely interesting because the leaders on that time had done it already. On the other hand Romney as a young and vibrant missionary has nothing to do with that so called racism, his support of whatever the Church leaders had been proclaimed has only showed how obedient he has been.

      February 20, 2012 at 2:55 am |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    February 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm |

      Dogma isn't healthy either!
      Man made gods are as fake as the men who made them. They were more interested in their women and their property, than truth! Seek and you will find the real god! For his laws Are not a choice and cannot be broken!

      February 19, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Prayer is talking with God

      February 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm |

      God does not talk to people!
      he has made laws that are set. You must use logic to communicate with god!
      Words, and prayer are a waste of time.
      You dont have to believe in my god, but you have to abide by his rules! He didnt give you a choice in the matter! Thats why you can't fly with an apparatus. You're a human, he didnt give you that ability. But he did give you logic, to figure out his laws, and what he will allow. Thats why we can build planes, rockets, jets, and fly in that manner. But flap your arms, and pray all you want. You never get off the ground!

      February 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  3. skullvodka

    This is a fact. A lot of people are delusional. A bigger problem then depression, many people believe that their lives are better than they actually are. They believe that they are better looking then they actually are. They think that their financial situation is on par with everyone else's when in fact most people do not have a credit rating of 520, and $20000 in credit card debt. And many people think that they are way smarter then they actually are. This is well known by most psychologists. I would rather know the truth, then to be blissfully stupid. But hey, that's just me.

    February 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm |

      Yes! Stop the ignorance! Let go of dogma! It isn't real people!

      February 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm |

    My god is inarguable!
    Cannot be defeated or contested by man!
    You see men have it all wrong. They've thought that everything was about them. When in actuality, its not much about them at all! Man is really not that important, in the big picture. However if we continue to seek out his laws, we can travel to different worlds. See unimaginable things and even create a heavenly bliss here on earth and elsewhere. But we have to let go of deities! They are not real, and they hold us back in a very bad way! Drop the dogma, join god!

    February 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • skullvodka

      Honestly! LOL that's rich. For real?

      February 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm |

      thanks beau!

      February 19, 2012 at 8:06 pm |

      I mean "skullvodka"! Sorry dude.

      February 19, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Casey

      The thought experiment of Schrodengers Cat, as well as more recent experiments in the dual Particle/Wave nature of light, imply that the universe requires a self-aware observer in order to define it. It's a pretty amazing phenonoma... it seems that the theory, and the test results imply that the universe was made FOR intelligent beings. Which is a different thing than the Universe just existing, and going on its merry way in complete indifference to the existence of soul instilled beings.

      February 19, 2012 at 8:44 pm |

      Thats where we're different. You think the universe, is a thing. Its not, its completely alive!
      I dont believe that man are gods big deal. We are not that important. Where as you believe that everything created was for you!
      I see that as a very selfish view. What god doesn't want us to do, he won't allow. Its that easy.

      February 19, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Casey

      In my Belief, God gave us the Freedom of choice. There are indeed many ramifications to that decision. He does not want robots. We are his children. He wants the best for us, but He doesn't want to control us. This much is clear. As far as the science goes... well.. I'm just conveying the current findings of the research. You can say the findings are "self absorbed" or whatever, but the findings are the findings... no doubt, more research will shed more light (it always does). So... I think you should tell us more about your belief system.

      February 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm |

    Don't confuse me with a bible thumper! Im not Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist, or another crazy azz man made religion!
    My god's laws can be proven, and his existence is all around you!
    from the tiniest proton particle, to the biggest black hole!
    He doesn't care about your morality. Who you love or who you hate. He's not even concerned in the least! He doesn't want you to do anything but live to the best of your abilities that he gave you!
    My god isn't some bleak, pie in the sky. He doesn't to to people through burning bushes, he doesn't engrave his rules in a slate of rock! He is what he is. You dont have to believe, but you do have to abide!
    Let religion go!
    And find the true god!

    February 19, 2012 at 7:41 pm |

    My God isn't really into emotions!
    But he did give you instincts, the ability to love and protect your child when it is born.
    The ability to fight, and defend the life he gave you!
    and logic to understand that any man made god, doesn't make since!

    February 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  7. cg3001

    Thats total crap, the very religious live in a life of extreme emotions, of course they will always ( when asked) rate anything they do higher emotionally, its not as if there lifes are better..its just that they live day to day, more immersed in there own emotional highs and lows. Hence why religion appeals to them so much. If you were to get a REAL survey then you would do this witout asking them rate in an unbias'd way. By third party...then you will see a totally different picture.

    February 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm |

      You've got my god confused with a man made god!
      See my god made rules that can't be broken! Plain sort and simple!
      Your moral code is your own. And my god isn't promising some pearly street and golden gay bridge! Look around, grab a telescope, and look into space, a golden gate and street of gold can't compare to the beauty of a nebula!

      February 19, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  8. Casey

    Don't you non-religious people have something better to do? You just hang out here on the Belief Blog so you can try to spout out some hate and anti-faith. How pathetic. Why don't you go to a Blog on someting you actually do believe in... or support.. ? (Whatever that is). I mean... it's pretty ridiculous. Get a life of your own and stop trying to feed off of ours.

    February 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm |

      Casey just because I dont believe in your man made god, doesn't mean that I dont believe I god!
      you can't make me live by your gods laws, but you have to abide by mine god, every minute of your life!

      February 19, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Casey

      HONESTLY! I don't really care. If you have some self created faith... that's fine. Why do you spend all your time putting down others faith? Why don't you describe your faith, and put it up for discussion. That is, in fact, the purpose of this Blog. Not to Troll... and put down... why don't you contribute? instead of trying to tear down?

      February 19, 2012 at 8:18 pm |

      Its not a self created faith.
      These are his laws. Like I said you dont have to believe in him, but you are completely useless, against him.what he won't allow he simply won't allow. And if you can express your faith, why dont I have the right to express mine?

      February 19, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Casey

      So... in other words... you're not going to answer me in a direct way. Clearly you are talking about science... and more specifically physics. My educational background is in this area... quantum to be exact. If you want to discuss physics, that would be great. I love the subject. I have recently written a book on the subject that will be published in the Fall... You said it correctly though... Physics are the Laws of the universe that God created and that we all are subject to, at the physical level.

      February 19, 2012 at 8:32 pm |

      these are the laws of god! But Casey you called me an atheist to imply I am without faith. And that is simply not true. I also have a strong moral code, but you wouldn't be interested in that either, because I dont classify my self as a Christian, or any other religion. Believe me! We are probably much more alike than we are different. You dont have to hate or try and belittle, its completely unnecessary. however I will continue to support my "self made faith" as you put it.

      February 19, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Casey

      You are not listening (or reading). I did not belittle.. I just called you out for doing that very thing to others. (You seem to be confused, or you are disenginuous) I don't think we can have a rational conversation.

      February 19, 2012 at 9:08 pm |

    The great thing about my god. Is even if you dont believe in my god, you are bound by his laws, regardless if you want to be me or not. You simply have no choice. And there is no man written bible god that can change that. Have all the faith you want In any pegan, you must still abide by my gods rules!

    February 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh really? Says who? I don't have to abide by your god's rules at all. I take the name of your god in vain all the time. I covet my neighbor's new car. What are you and your god going to do about it?

      February 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm |

      Yes Tom Tom! You too are bound by my gods rules!
      Can you go back in time?
      Can you defeat gravity?
      Can you walk or see through walls?
      Nope! Because you too are bound by gods laws!
      And covet all you want, my god gave you that ability!
      nut 'til your lil' pekker can't take no more. My god really dont give a rats azz

      February 19, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      God apparently didn't give you much insight. I don't have a "pec ker".

      The "rules" you're barfing on about aren't the rules of some deity, dear.

      February 19, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    I am often called an atheist in here, by bible followers for not believing in the bible..
    But im not sure I can be classified an atheist, since I do believe in our god.
    The bible was written by men for men. The laws of the bible can be broken at anytime. But The law of our true god, cannot be broken by any means!
    Jump as hard as you want, and gods law of gravity will bring you back down to earth every single time. Pray all you want, the end result will be the same! HIS LAW CANNOT BE BROKEN! if you wish to talk with god, you can't accomplish that with words. But god will tell you what his laws are if you seek them through trial and error! For instance, while Laying out in the sun, pray that you wont be burned. What happens? Right! You get burned, because he has told you what will happen, through trial and error, and you are using your mouth, or thoughts to try and communicate with him. It doesn't work! But god gave you logic, and if you use that logic, you will be protected from the sun, through avoidance. Its so easy to understand. Please try?

    February 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm |

    I personally dont believe that there is a man like figure sitting up in the sky watching your every move. He isn’t there making sure your sports team wins. He isn’t there talking to the pope, the rabbi’s, or any other religious leader. And he certainly isn’t there talking to any of you. sorry to say we're just not that important. He does have laws though, that must be abided by. For instance there are things you must do to live, and procreate (even though his laws have allowed us to do that outside of our own bodies), we must stay clear of certain elements while devouring other elements. His laws are made of laws you may have heard before. Like laws of gravity, laws of physics, and velocity, and logic. For god in completely undeniable! That is the universe and more.
    Things you can’t even imagine are alive, reproduce, enjoy some elements while rejecting others. Our very own planet is alive (its not a rock) our solar system is alive the universe is alive, stars die and reproduce every minute. and its a great and beautiful display of gods power. gods plan is for the universe and beyond

    February 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm |

    we’re just a minuscule particles in a minuscule time period, no more important than anything else. however we have evolved intelligence that other species have yet to achieve. Our destinations will be laid out in time with science and true understanding of these (gods) laws. Be patient we”LL get there in time! until then we need to love, respect, protect, and feed one another so that we survive long enough to achieve the goal of god. One more thing. This gods laws, are proven everytime scientist have a new break through, or discover another one of gods fascinating laws are revealed. Its important that we understand it, question it, and finally correct what we can, and accept what we can't. His laws are unforgivable. He's not an angry god. Just one that has given us life, in a place where his laws can't by any means be broken you have no choice in them, for they are already set. You can't break them if you wanted to. For god has made sure of this! Love god, your fellow man, the planet, the universe. And constantly remind yourself how small you are in gods creation. For this is your true god! For your bible was hand written by man to impart laws for civility. And these laws are 2000 years old now. Its time to believe in what we know, and let go of what isn't real!

    February 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  13. JC

    This article shouldv'e been WAY shorter. Here's the condensed version:


    February 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  14. come clean!

    Religion is the most dangerous addiction in the world!

    February 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • isis!

      And is more destructive, because it allows people to not think clearly. Just as cocaine, alcohol, heroine, and many other drugs!
      Ask any addict if they're happy while under the influence of their drug of choice, and they will surely answer an emphatic yes!

      February 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Actually, I feel it is the extremist on both the Atheist side and the Faithful side, which have their heads so firmly in their own dogma, that they can not see a respectful and and tolerant society of co-existence.

      February 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • the thinker!

      I've never heard of a suicide bombing atheist.
      Nor is there any place where atheist congregate to change the views of civilians. Atheism is not dogma, it is without dogma.
      Not believing in something doesn't mean you believe in nothing. It simply means there is a lack of convincible truth to the individual.
      And i agree with you 100% that extremism is very dangerous.

      February 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • the thinker!

      Mark in the middle
      I appreciate your level headedness, and willing to discuss issues, without snide remarks. even though yours and my opinions differ!

      February 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Loughner

      I massacred 19 souls including a very precious 9-yr. old girl and injured a very honorable woman in Arizona. And "I don't trust in God".

      @ Thinker, Please THINK of me.

      Loughner of Arizona

      February 20, 2012 at 2:38 am |
  15. the thinker!

    I personally find it hilarious that religious people think that the universe is 5000 yrs old.
    Even though science has proved the universe is 14 billion years old.

    February 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      That is an interesting number that you attribute to the Faithful. Can I ask where did you get this number from? Are you speaking of Religious equaling to mean just Christians? Was there a scripture that was quoted to you?

      Thanks. 🙂

      February 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Question

      Proven how? There is a reason why it is called the theory of evolution.

      February 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • the thinker!

      No, its not a theory of evolution, that is completely different issue.

      The age of the universe is the time elapsed since the Big Bang posited by the most widely accepted scientific model of cosmology. The best current estimate of the age of the universe is 13.75 ± 0.11 billion years[1][2] (4.336 x 1017 seconds in SI units, or 13.75 Gigayears) within the Lambda-CDM concordance model.[1] The uncertainty range of ± 0.11 Ga has been obtained by the agreement of a number of scientific research projects, such as microwave background radiation measurements by Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and other probes. Measurements of the cosmic background radiation give the cooling time of the universe since the Big Bang,[3] and measurements of the expansion rate of the universe can be used to calculate its approximate age by extrapolating backwards in time.

      February 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • coach turner

      Tthinker, the theory of evolution 160 years post Darwin, curiously enough, still remains a theory,,, evolution is taught as fact in school text books, and then we learn that the science has changed and the text books eventually are changed to reflect the new reality. despite the glaring gaps in the theory and the many out of place artifacts and fossils, The atheists in charge of the department of education ban free speech ( the discussion of intelligent design) and prosecute students and faculty that dare to challenge them. A truth that must be defended legally is at risk of exposure as a fraud.

      February 20, 2012 at 3:54 am |
  16. the thinker!

    If you ask someone, if believing in their god makes them happy, of course they are going to say yes! They may even throw in a “praise the lord!”
    However if you ask an athiest, if simply being an athiest makes them happy,of course they would say no! Athiest knows that happiness is achieved, not given!
    this doesn’t mean that athiest are not happy!
    Im athiest, and im tickled fuk’n pink!

    February 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      However if you ask an atheist, if simply being an atheist makes them happy,of course they would say no! Atheist knows that happiness is achieved, not given!

      I respectfully have to disagree with your view of the Faithful and happiness. Your statement could be used for any defined group, including Atheist. A Atheist, just as a Faithful will instantly chime up that they are happy because their world view... their standard which they follow is right, just and intelligent.

      Also most people will declare that since their view is correct and that they themselves are happy and proud, then it is illogical for someone who believes differently to also be proud and happy of their differing beliefs. The crazy thing is how so many Atheist are so much like the Faithful that it is incredible. Your post caught my eye because I was in a debate with a very orthodox Muslim who declared that their faith is something that requires work to achieve a relationship with Allah. Since Christians did not pray the same way, and/or observant of more detailed acts of Faith ….. we did not work to earn God's blessings. Basically the same argument that you are making now, that because you are not a Christan then we are not working to achieve something.

      There are happy Atheist and there are happy Faithful but when each of us use our own personal standards of what is needed to achieve happiness, at that time we all fail as an society.

      February 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • the thinker!

      Atheist are not happy because they're atheist. We would all like to believe that there is some super fairness judge watching our every move. Atheist (im speaking for myself even though im not an atheist in the purest sense. For I do have a belief in god, its just not from a bible). And making rights of wrongs. Punishing the bad, and promoting the good. The thing is that in reality, its just not probable. Atheist are happy for reasons other than being atheist. Again, im speaking for myself.
      And yes, just because youre religious doesn't mean youre happy.
      And just because you aren't religious doesn't mean that your unhappy.

      February 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  17. Stan

    Atheists are so irrelevant. You make up, what, 15% of the global population? And shrinking

    February 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • the thinker!

      Stan do some research!
      Athiest are growing in numbers. Its religious idiots that are being replaced by rational thinkers!

      February 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Dave

      So you don't love them, as your God asks you to? Instead, you mock and then ignore them?

      February 19, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  18. Jason

    People unaware they are in the matrix have higher well being than those living in Zion. Ignorance is bliss.

    February 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  19. Hypatia

    Liars say anything.

    February 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  20. bird

    most stupid article ever!!!!! Of course extremely religious people feel they have a better sense of "wellbeing" (whatever that is). They are delusional and irrational. It goes hand in hand with being extremely religious. How can anything they say being measured in any objective way????

    February 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • isis!

      That a true tweet, there bird!

      February 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.