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Nearly a Third of Americans Say COVID-19 Has Strengthened Their Faith

Nearly 30 percent of adults in the U.S. say they strengthened their religious faith in 2020, according to a study released Jan. 26 by Pew Research Center. Of those same people, 40 percent say that the pandemic and quarantine has strengthened their family bonds. 

Three in ten, or 28 percent of Americans, have cited the pandemic as a powerful force bringing them back to their faith. 

The survey aimed to understand how people in countries with developed economies were experiencing their relationship with faith and family during the summer of the pandemic, from June to August. Pew interviewed 14,276 adults over the phone from 14 different countries: the United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and South Korea. 

The U.S. had almost double the increase of percentage points of individuals who felt that their faith was boosted during the pandemic. Other countries, like France for example, only had a 10% increase in the number of people who felt their faith was strengthened. 

This isn’t unique to the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies from after the catastrophic earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2012 showed a large increase in people returning back to their faith after a traumatic experience. 

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In the same vein, a recent Pew report also cited that roughly 35 percent of Americans believe that the pandemic brought one or more lessons from God. 

One of the questions in the survey asked how important religion is in the polled respondent’s life. In every country surveyed about the boost or fall of religion during the pandemic, those who prioritized religion and said it was very important were more likely to have a boost in their faith. America’s tendency towards the strengthening of religious faith during the pandemic is highly connected to how many people consider religion to be very important in their lives—around 49 percent of the general population. 

Of these religious Americans, evangelical Christians were the group most likely to say that COVID-19 has bolstered their faith. Forty-nine percent of people who felt their faith has been affected by COVID-19 identify as White evangelical Christians. The second most religiously “boosted” group identifies as Catholic, with White non-evangelical Protestants closely behind. 

Along with measuring religiosity among countries with developed economies, the study also touched on family relationships during the pandemic. The median of the 14 countries outlines that 32 percent of relationships have grown stronger while only 8 percent say the opposite.

Mattie Townson

Mattie Townson is an intern for Religion Unplugged and a journalism student at The King's College. She is the Campus Editor for her school newspaper, The Empire State Tribune.