If You're Poor, You've Got Religion...
...Except in the rich US, where 65% say they're devout
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2010 10:29 AM CDT
Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil women pray during religious rituals at a Hindu temple in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, May 18, 2010.   (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

(Newser) – The most devout countries in the world are “relatively poor”—except the United States. A new Gallup study shows that in “the world’s poorest countries,” a median of 95% say religion is important in their daily lives. In the richest countries, that number drops to 47%. (Gallup defines the poorest countries as those with average per-capita incomes of $2,000 or lower, while the richest average higher than $25,000.) The US is an exception: A rich country where about 65% say religion is important.

Overall, the survey of 114 countries found that 84% of people globally call religion important, LiveScience reports. Other rich countries were less religious than the US: In France, 30% marked it as important; in Sweden, only 17%. Gallup analysts theorize the typical link between religion and poverty may be due to the fact that religion helps residents of poor countries cope.