Only 27% of Israelis pray daily - Pew Study

The study predominantly follows a trend where countries that have the lowest GDP per capita, such as Afghanistan, have the highest rates of daily prayer.

May 7, 2019 22:14
1 minute read.
MEMBERS OF Women of the Wall pray at the Kotel.

MEMBERS OF Women of the Wall pray at the Kotel.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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Only 27% of Israelis pray daily, while in the average country 49% of people pray daily, according to a Pew Study comparing prayer and wealth published in May. Israel is unsurprisingly an outlier when looking at Middle Eastern trends, it is both wealthier and its citizens pray less than all the other Middle Eastern/North African countries studied, including Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco, and Algeria.

The study predominantly follows a trend where countries that have lower GDPs per capita, such as Afghanistan, also have higher rates of daily prayer, in this case close to 100%. While studies like this can and do experience response bias, where participants answer untruthfully for a variety of different reasons such as social pressure etc., the trend is rather consistent. This is true for the reverse as well. Countries, such as Norway, with extremely high GDPs have low rates of prayer. Of those surveyed in Norway, 18% pray daily.

However, the United States is one of the biggest outliers. It is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet 55% of the population prays daily. To explain the discrepancy with the US, the report says that some scholars believe that the lack of interference by the government on religion has allowed for an “open religious ‘market,’” where religions compete for members. The high levels of prayer are also attributed to the income inequality within the US, where those poorer pray more and vice versa.

While the data does not include wealthy countries in the Arabian Peninsula such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, these countries would likely have similar outcomes to the US with high GDP and high prayer level.

Other outliers include Vietnam and Bulgaria, both low wealth countries with GDP per capita that are $6,000 and $19,000, respectively, and yet they also have low prayer rates of 14% and 15%.

There were 102 countries examined in the study and the results are from 2015.

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