The Pew Research Center released a report showing a correlation between religious participation, happiness and other health outcomes.
Their findings: 36 percent of Americans who are active in a congregation once a month or more report that they are “very happy.” Twenty-five percent of inactive and unaffiliated voters say the same.
Pew conducted the study across 26 countries. Twelve of them, including the U.S., show a statistically significant difference in religiously active people’s happiness over unaffiliated people. Nine of the countries similarly show an advantage of actively religious people over inactive religious people. No country showed that being unaffiliated or inactive had a significantly higher percentage of people reporting happiness.
The researchers were careful to say that their results did not show that religion makes people happy. It could be that happy people are more likely to join a congregation, or that social interaction makes people happier.
Among the countries in Pew’s study, Mexico had the highest percentage of “very happy” people across religious categories. In Mexico, 71 percent of religiously active people reported being very happy, 64 percent of inactive people and 61 percent of unaffiliated people reported the same.