full screen background image

Black Americans Are Far ‘More Religious’ Than U.S. Public, New Pew Study Says

12

Black Americans Are Far ‘More Religious’ Than U.S. Public, New Pew Study Says


Black Americans are significantly more religious than the general population and are more likely than other adults to attend church, express belief in an all-powerful God, and believe that prayer can heal, according to a major new survey by the Pew Research Center.

The poll, released Tuesday, found that 59 percent of black Americans say religion is “very important” to them, compared to 40 percent of all U.S. adults who answered that way.

A full 81 percent of black Americans but only 62 percent of U.S. adults say they believe in a God who has the power to control what goes on in the world, and 74 percent of black Americans but 63 percent of U.S. adults say they believe in a God who judges all people.

On the subject of prayer, 78 percent of black Americans say they believe prayer can heal illness, compared to 65 percent of U.S. adults who answered that way. Black Americans are 19 points more likely than the general population (63 to 44) to say they pray daily.

Meanwhile, 43 percent of black Americans attend church either weekly or at least once or twice a month. Among all U.S. adults, 32 percent attend church that frequently.

“The findings show that Black Americans are more religious than the American public as a whole on a range of measures of religious commitment,” a Pew analysis said.

Among black Protestants, about half (49 percent) attend a predominantly black church, while 16 percent attend a multiracial church and 8 percent attend a predominantly white church. Among black Catholics, the numbers are mixed: 12 percent attend a predominantly black church, 27 percent a multiracial church and 28 percent a predominantly white church.

Among other findings:

  • 51 percent of black Americans say they believe people of faith have a duty to try to convert nonbelievers. Among all adults, 34 percent answer that way.
  • 54 percent of black Americans but only 32 percent of all U.S. adults say it is necessary to believe in God to be moral.
  • 10 percent of black Americans identify as Republican and 84 percent as Democrat. Among black Protestants, the numbers are nearly identical (9 percent Republican and 86 percent Democrat).

Pew interviewed 8,660 black Americans between November 2019 and June 2020.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/kali9


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.