New Penn/Gallup Poll measures 'spiritual state of the union'

March 06, 2003

PHILADELPHIA - Faith and spirituality guide the lives of three out of four American adults, according to a new report by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the Gallup Organization and the George H. Gallup International Institute.

Initial findings from the Center for Research on Religion and Civil Society/Gallup Spiritual State of the Union report indicate that, in the face of imminent war with Iraq, threats of terrorism at home and an economic recession, the spiritual state of the union is strong.

"I was completely surprised by the findings. The level of spirituality that we discovered in the United States was much higher than we'd expected," said Byron Johnson, director of CRRUCS at Penn. "The CRRUCS/Gallup Spiritual Index, a measurement of the nation's faith and spirituality, now stands at 74.7 percent, plus or minus 1.4 points, out of a possible score of 100 percent. That is a strong indication that the majority of Americans find meaning in life through religious faith and spirituality."

The Spiritual Index measures and compares respondents' inner spiritual lives, their connection with God or some divine will or higher power and how they live their lives in service to others, to the community and to society at large.

This year's CRRUCS/Gallup report is based on a June 2002 telephone survey of 1,509 adults. The survey results can be projected to the entire English-speaking American adult population of approximately 200 million people of all spiritual and religious beliefs, Johnson said.

Beginning next year, the CRRUCS/Gallup Spiritual State of the Union report will be released annually to coincide with the presidential state of the union address.

University of Pennsylvania

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