Overall Religiosity Measures

Stark (2002) provides data on levels of religiosity for men and women in 49 western and eight nonwestern cultures.

In every single case, as expected, women are more likely than men to describe themselves as religious. The ratios range from 1.05 in Brazil to 1.69 in Estonia (cf. Gallup, 1980). In the British Values Survey (Gerard, 1985), factor analysis produced two factors, and the scores on each were combined to give a single index of religious commitment. One factor consisted of items about basic beliefs and reported religious experience, and the second was about ritual attendance and positive attitudes to the church. Fifteen percent of men, 20% of working women, and 26% of nonworking women had high scores—a ratio of 1.53 if the two groups of women are combined. The ratio for the medium to high group was 1.61. The American Gallup ratio for "being a religious person" was 1.45. As reported by Gallup and Lindsay (1999), women in the United States have been found to be significantly higher than men on all measures of religiosity used in public opinion polls. This is the largest data pool anywhere in the world.

Anderson (1993) reported that in the Soviet Union the higher level of religiosity among women was found in both the European republics, with their Christian heritage, and the republics of Central Asia, which were historically part of the Islamic world.

In a survey of 1172 Ethiopian students, representing three Christian denominations and Islam, and 15 ethnic groups, the 408 females received higher overall religiosity scores than the males (Wondimu, Beit-Hallahmi, & Abbink, 2001).

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