The global middle class: economics changes values, reduces religiosity – except in the US (Pew)

The Economist: Special poll on middle class attitudes and Pew: Global Middle Class:

As economically developing countries grow prosperous, their middle classes understandably become more satisfied with their lives. But many of their basic values also appear to change.
middle-class-life-satisfactionOver time, the values of the middle classes in emerging countries become more like those of the publics of advanced nations. This is the overall conclusion of a new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Pew Global Attitudes Project, conducted in partnership with The Economist magazine. . .
The study finds that in 13 middle-income nations from regions around the globe, people tend to hold different opinions about democracy and social issues once they reach a certain level of wealth.

Compared with poorer people in emerging countries, members of the middle class assign more importance to democratic institutions and individual liberties, consider religion less central to their lives, hold more liberal social values and express more concern about the environment . . .

. . . previous Pew Global Attitudes research has shown a clear link between wealth and religiosity at the country level – as a country’s overall wealth increases, its level of religiosity generally declines. There are, however, some exceptions, most notably the United States, which is both wealthy and a religious nation. What this new analysis illustrates is that within countries, wealthier individuals are often less religious. . .

6 thoughts on “The global middle class: economics changes values, reduces religiosity – except in the US (Pew)

  1. jutta says:

    An African academic once said to me that you can’t have democracy without a middle class, and I think there is some truth in this. Only those who are not economically dependent can be impartial and are more immune to corruption. Most others’ opinions will depend on who gives me more money, or builds wells, or ..

  2. jutta says:

    I don’t know. At the moment I am not sure what this could look like (or what you mean exactly). Can you elaborate?

    • Ben says:

      This survey also showed that the more people move into the middle class, the less religious they become. I’m just wondering how we process this phenomena.

  3. jutta says:

    Well, I could imagine that the more independent you become, the less are you submitted to the usual group pressure to follow a prescribed religion. I think in Africa becoming middle class is often synonymous to moving to a town where you have more freedom to make your own choices. Plus, the more economically secure you feel, the less need for God you might feel? But these are just some wild guesses.

    • Ben says:

      That’s probably true. So we only believe in God when we feel like we need him ;-). I was just reflecting a bit on the paradox between alleviating poverty and encouraging belief in God.

      Thanks for all your comments.

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