pew-research

Report: Religious Americans 'active users of technology'

Dec. 24, 2011 at 6:54 PM ET

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Religiously active Americans are also active in using technology

A recent survey from Pew Research shows that spiritually active Americans are just as likely as others to incorporate technology into their daily lives.

"Some analysts have been concerned that those who have active spiritual lives might not be as engaged with the secular world," noted Jim Jansen, a Senior Fellow at the Pew Internet Project and author of a report on the findings. "We see the opposite. Those who are religiously active are more likely to participate in all kinds of groups and more likely to feel good about their communities. Those who are active in religious groups seem to be joiners. They also are active users of technology."

As part of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, Princeton Survey Research Associates International surveyed 2,303 adults (ages 18 and older) by cellphone and home phones in English and Spanish.  

The report shows that "Americans who are members of religious groups are just as likely as others to use the internet, have broadband at home, use cell phones, use text messaging, and use social networking sites and Twitter."

And here are some stats to back up those assertions: 

  • 79 percent of Americans who are active in religious groups are internet users, compared with 75% of those not involved with religious groups
  • 86 percent of Americans who are active in religious groups are cellphone users, compared with 80% of those not involved with religious groups
  • 75 percent of religiously active Americans are email users, compared with 68% of those who are not involved with religious groups.
  • 46 percent of these religiously active Americans use social networking sites such as Facebook, compared with 49% of those who are not involved with religious groups.
  • 9 percent of these religiously active Americans use Twitter, compared with 10% of those not involved with religious groups

While the data did not specifically get into the polled participants' involvement in social networks, Pew researchers did extrapolate some theories about the role online communities play in their lives.

"It's not in our data, but there is some new scholarship raising the possibility that the social networks of church members might be one of the factors driving this civic engagement," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew project. "Church can be a place where people who want to be active in groups meet others who share that same interest and they kind of reinforce each other's yearning to get involved with the community around them."

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