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Modernisation and secularisation quantified. Marion Burkimsher Observatoire des Religions, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Modernization and secularization quantified. Marion Burkimsher Observatoire des Religions, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

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modernisation and secularisation quantified

Modernisation and secularisation quantified

Marion Burkimsher

Observatoire des Religions,

University of Lausanne, Switzerland

modernization and secularization quantified

Modernization and secularization quantified

Marion Burkimsher

Observatoire des Religions,

University of Lausanne, Switzerland

slide4

Measure of modernisation: the Human Development Index

  • Composite indicator (max. 100) combining measures of:
  • Health: life expectancy at birth
  • Education: adult literacy and school enrolment
  • Wealth: GDP per capita (PPP)
  • Measure of secularisation: attendance at religious services
  • World Values Survey:
  • data from 4 waves 1981, 1990, 1999, 2006
  • Attendance at religious service:
  • at least once a month = attender
  • Any religion, self-defined by respondent
slide5

45 countries: needed to have HDI data and WVS data for 2 years, so that a trend could be plotted

Highly developed countries are over-represented

Because of measurement and sampling issues, any data point can have a wide margin of uncertainty

slide11

Conclusion 1: there is a correlation of higher development being associated with lower religiosity, but the spread of values is wide

slide13

The area between the black dashed lines can be considered the “natural level” of religiosity of a population given its level of development. This “normal band” is roughly the trendline +/- 10%

These countries have been in the “normal band” at some point:

India, Turkey, Brazil, Iran, Romania, South Korea, Hungary, Slovenia, Great Britain, Belgium, Australia, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, France, Finland, Norway, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland (21 countries)

slide15

These countries have been above the “normal band” and their most recent trend is downwards:

Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Malta, Poland, Iceland, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Canada, United States, Australia (16 countries)

However, these countries are above the “normal band” but have not seen recent falls:

South Africa, Nigeria, South Korea, Italy, Portugal (5 countries)Exceptions to prove the rule?

slide17

These countries were initially below the “normal band” but are now closer to it (most have seen rises in attendance rates):

Moldova, Viet Nam, China, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Iceland, Finland (11 countries)

Only Bulgaria is the exception to this pattern, having moved a little further away from the “normal band”

slide19

Conclusion 1: there is a correlation of higher development being associated with lower religiosity, but the spread of values is wide

Conclusion 2: There is a natural level of religiosity related to a country’s level of development and there is convergence towards this

slide21

Conclusion 1: there is a correlation of higher development being associated with lower religiosity, but the spread of values is wide

Conclusion 2: There is a natural level of religiosity related to a country’s level of development and there is convergence towards this

Conclusion 3: Some countries have had a period of revival, which has then been followed by renewed secularisation if that revival took them above the “normal band”, eg. South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Romania

slide23

Conclusion 1: there is a correlation of higher development being associated with lower religiosity, but the spread of values is wide

Conclusion 2: There is a natural level of religiosity related to a country’s level of development and there is convergence towards this

Conclusion 3: Some countries have had a period of revival, which has then been followed by renewed secularisation if that revival took them above the “normal band”, eg. South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Romania

Conclusion 4: Many countries are approaching maximum development (as defined by the HDI), but the minimum attendance rates would appear to be around 10-20% of the population

slide24

Possible feedback mechanisms

  • Health: more religious people tend to have healthier lifestyles - less smoking, drinking, promiscuity, greater social cohesion
  • Education: in highly educated countries, young people are more likely to be attenders if they have either a high education or a low educational level
  • Wealth: in highly developed countries, individuals in wealthier households are less likely to be attenders
  • Less developed countries attract aid, often delivered by religious organisations
  • Immigration: highly developed countries attract immigrants who bring their higher religiosity with them
  • Fertility: in highly developed countries, attenders have a higher fertility than secular people
slide28

What next?

As many developed countries are approaching “maximum development” as defined by the HDI, what new factors will come into play?

The HDI does not consider other measures of “development”, such as urbanisation, (tele)communications, insecurity…