Ecumenical News International

Worshippers Have More Friends Than Non-Religious People

Socio-Economic Study Reveals: Religion Is a Strong Cohesive Force

December 17, 2008

Berlin (idea) - Regular worshippers have more friends and maintain closer ties to neighbors than non-religious people, according to a study commissioned by the German Institute for Economic and Social Research (DIW) in Berlin. 

Sociologist Richard Traunmueller of the University of Konstanz researched the relevance of religion for social cohesion.  He used data collected in 25 years by the Socio-Economic Panel, which interviews 20,000 persons per year. 

According to the study religion is immensely important for social cohesion. Especially the Protestant Church seems to encourage social activity.  Protestants in Germany are more involved in voluntary work than Catholics and Muslims.  

According to Traunmueller religion is a surprisingly strong cohesive force even if the traditional churches suffer from dwindling membership.  The churches offer a platform for manifold activities for the common good. They provide the nation with "social capital". 

The Evangelical Church in Germany and the Roman Catholic Church have approximately 25 million members each.  The total population in Germany amounts to 82 million. 



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