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Religious Countries Have Lower Suicide Rates

Recent Gallup polls show countries that are more religious tend to have lower suicide rates. The polls calculated each country’s “Religiosity Index” based on answers to questions about the priority of religion in daily life, if the respondent attended a place of worship during the previous week, and the respondent’s confidence in religious organizations. The Index was compared to suicide statistics as published by the World Health Organization in 2007. More than 67 countries participated in the analysis. As an example, the Philippines has one of the world’s highest religiosity scores and Japan has one of the lowest; suicide rates in the Philippines are almost twelve times lower than rates in Japan. The United States falls near the middle of the international community in both religiosity and suicide rates. Pollsters advise leaders who wish to understand the well-being of a country to look beyond traditional economic indicators to spiritual concerns.  

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Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including churchleaders.com and SermonCentral.com.