Survey finds majority of Turkish population is pious
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULApr 16, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Apr 16, 2015 12:00 am
An international survey looking into people's relation with religion in 65 countries found the Turkish nation is overwhelmingly pious compared to other countries, with 79 percent of the population describing themselves this way.
WIN/Gallup's research was conducted among 63,989 people in 65 countries. In Turkey, people across 12 provinces were interviewed, and the majority said they considered themselves pious independent of fulfilling their religious duties. Some 13 percent said they were not pious, while only 2 percent declared themselves to be atheists.
The research offers an interesting insight into people's mindset towards religion. Figures showed most of those describing themselves as pious were below the age of 34 globally, while it was quite the opposite in Turkey where piety increases as people age. Although 77 percent of people between the ages of 25 and 34 defined themselves as pious, it was 80 percent and higher in older age groups.
Results of the global research show women are more pious than men, while both men and women have the same proportion of piety in Turkey at 79 percent.
Globally, adhering to a religion is more common among those with low income and it is no different for Turkey, according to the study. Moreover, the rise in education level corresponds to a lower level of piety, as the study showed that those with grade school education are overwhelmingly more pious compared to university graduates.
Speaking about the results, Hakan Döngel, manager of BAREM, the company that conducted the Turkey leg of the international research, said Turkey's religious profile is well above average compared to other countries. He pointed out that socio-economic status correlated with piety, and people in worse living conditions had a stronger bond with religion, while the rate of religiousness dropped in developed Western countries. He also noted that a stronger adherence to religion in the world among the youth underlined a longing for belief in something.
A similar survey was conducted by Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB) last year. That survey has found that although an overwhelming majority in the country follows Islam, figures of those observing the religion remained low according to the survey. Piety among Muslims is high in rural parts of the country and amid the elderly, according to the DİB survey. A total of 42.5 percent of interviewees perform daily prayers, while 16.9 percent do not. More than half of those performing prayers five times a day live in rural areas, while 39.4 percent live in cities. The DİB survey shows women perform daily prayers more often than men, and there is a correlation between age and frequency of performing prayers. Turkey's Muslims above the age of 65 are most likely to perform daily prayers regularly, while only 26.2 percent of Muslims in the age bracket of 18 to 24 regularly perform obligatory prayers.
"Turkey is a country whose population is 99 percent Muslim," has long been at the center of arguments related to country's religion, but was often downplayed as an unofficial figure. The DİB's survey found that 98.7 percent of over 21,000 people interviewed said they believed in God's existence and oneness without any doubt.
In WIN/Gallup's survey, two Asian countries emerged as the most pious and least pious, according to the results of the survey. Thailand has the highest rate of pious people at 94 percent, while communist China where 31 percent define themselves as atheists scored the lowest. It is found that eight out of 10 people describe themselves as religious in Africa and the Middle East, while Western Europe and Asia have the largest number of atheists.