Almost one in three Americans say the Covid-19 pandemic has made their religious faith stronger, a significantly higher proportion of people than in other countries, according to a report.
In the UK, one in 10 people said their faith had strengthened, a proportion that corresponds to the median across 14 countries surveyed by the Washington-based Pew Research Center.
Only 2% of Danes and 3% of Swedes reported stronger personal faith. For Germans and Japanese the figure was 5%.
The contrast between the US on one hand, and western European and east Asian countries on the other, was likely to be because religion continued to play a stronger role in American life than in many other economically developed countries, Pew said in its report.
White evangelical Christians in the US were more likely than other Christians to report a stronger faith because of the coronavirus pandemic, with 49% saying it had grown.
Significantly higher proportions of people said the pandemic had tightened family bonds. More than four in 10 people in Spain, Italy, the US and the UK – countries which were hit early by Covid – said their relationship with immediate family members had become stronger. Only 18% in Japan and South Korea agreed.
Pew said: “As many families in countries surveyed remain confined to their homes because of mandated work from home and closed or virtual schools, more people say their relationships with immediate family members have become stronger than say these relationships have weakened.”
The median across 14 countries was 32% saying relationships had grown stronger, while 8% said the opposite. In 11 countries, majorities said the pandemic had not changed their relationship with their immediate family.
Pew carried out its survey last summer when Covid infections and deaths were relatively low. More than 14,000 people were questioned by phone.