In a huge international study, Pew Center researchers found evidence that people who actively practice a religion are happier than those who don't.
Religious people also tend to be healthier, though in that area the data is less clear. Religious people also tend to exhibit greater civic engagement than their non-religious counterparts.
According to Pew:
... more than one-third of actively religious U.S. adults (36%) describe themselves as very happy, compared with just a quarter of both inactive and unaffiliated Americans. Across 25 other countries for which data are available, actives report being happier than the unaffiliated by a statistically significant margin in almost half (12 countries), and happier than inactively religious adults in roughly one-third (nine) of the countries.
The gaps are often striking: In Australia, for example, 45% of actively religious adults say they are very happy, compared with 32% of inactives and 33% of the unaffiliated. And there is no country in which the data show that actives are significantly less happy than others (though in many countries, there is not much of a difference between the actives and everyone else).
Read the full results here.
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