Spirituality Rises in Canada and Drops in the United States

Americans are more likely to say that religion is “very important” for them personally (38%) than Canadians (25%).

Vancouver, BC [December 6, 2022] – The perceptions of Canadians and Americans on religion have changed slightly over the past couple of years, a new two-country Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of representative national samples, one-in-four Canadians (25%) say religion is “very important” to them personally, up three points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in December 2021.

Fewer than two-in-five Americans (38%) say religion is “very important” to them personally, down 10 points since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in November 2020.

In Canada, only affluence (14%, +3) is ranked lower than religion among six different components of life. The rating is considerably higher for career (36%, +7), country (47%, +3), friends (60%, +6) and family (81%, +3).

In the United States, two items are ranked lower than religion: affluence (12%, -9) and career (31%, -9). The numbers are higher for country (51%, -11), friends (55%, +1) and family (77%, -2).

“On religion, there is a pronounced generational gap in the United States,” says Mario Canseco. “Only 28% of Americans aged 18-to-34 acknowledge that religion is very important to them, compared to 40% of those aged 35-to-45 and 42% of those aged 55 and over.”

In Canada, fewer than three-in-ten Canadians aged 18-to-34 (27%), aged 35-to-54 (25%) and aged 55 and over (22%) say religion is “very important” for them personally.

Two thirds of Americans (66%, -7) consider themselves as “very spiritual” or “moderately spiritual”. In Canada, 53% of respondents (+4) feel the same way.

Compared to 2021, there is a slight drop in the proportion of Canadians who describe their religion as Christian (48%, -2) and an increase in those who say they are atheist, agnostic or profess no religion (37%, +3).

In the United States, the proportion of self-described Christians fell by seven points since 2020 (from 70% to 63%), while the number of respondents who are atheist, agnostic or have no religion increased by six points (from 19% to 25%).

About a third of Canadians (32%, -1) never attend religious gatherings, while two-in-five (40%, +4) only do so for special events, such as weddings, funerals or baptisms. Only 15% of Canadians (-1) attend a church, temple or synagogue at least once a week.

About a quarter of Americans (23%, -15) attend a religious gathering at least once a week. There are sizeable increases in the proportions of Americans who never go to church (27%, +7) or who only do so in special occasions (29%, +8).

Methodology: Results are based on online studies conducted from November 26 to November 28, 2022, among representative samples of 1,000 adults Canada and the United States. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian and U.S. census figures for age, gender and region in each country. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points for each country.

Find our data tables for Canada here, the data tables for the United States here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca