(CNS News) -- In a new survey, the Pew Research Center found that 72% of Americans said God plays an important role in their life, and 67% said prayer also plays an important role. Worldwide, the poll showed that 61% of people say God plays an important role in their life.
Prayer was slightly less important globally, with 53% of people agreeing that prayer plays an important role in their life. The survey also showed that religion is “very” or “somewhat” important to 62% of people, while 34% said “not at all” or “not too.”
However, when asked whether belief in God is necessary to be moral and have good values, 54% of Americans said it was not, while 44% said that it is. The median percentage for the world was 44%.
Western European countries proved to be some of the most secular. For the eight Western European countries surveyed, a median of 22% of people said that belief in God is necessary to be moral and have good values. Sweden, at 9%, was one the lowest along with France, 15%, and U.K., 20%, to say that God was necessary for good values.
Indonesia and the Philippines represented the highest belief in the necessity of God for good values, both at 96%. African countries think similarly, with Kenya, 95%; Nigeria, 93%; South Africa, 84%; and Tunisia, 84%, all saying the same.
The poll also highlighted changes in belief from 2002 to 2019. In 2002, 33% of Bulgarians said belief in God is necessary to have good values. Now 50% do. Russia also increased from a 26% belief to a 37% belief. Japan increased from 29% to 39%.
Five countries - Mexico, Turkey, Ukraine, South Korea, and the United States -- all experienced a decrease in the belief that God is necessary for good values. The United States, which moved from 58% in 2002 to 44% in 2019, was the biggest change.
The survey also showed a connection between affluence and belief. For almost all cases, a lower national GDP represented a higher belief that God was necessary for good values.
Kenya, which had the lowest GDP per capita at $4,509, held a 95% belief in the statement. While Sweden, which has a high GDP of $55, 815 per capita, had only 9% of its population connecting belief in God to good values.