Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Religion Doesn't Make You Happier

At least that's strongly suggested by this recent well-being survey - with the exception of Mormons.

It's worth checking out this post at my political blog, showing that the biggest contiguous geographic stripe of the most unhappy people in the U.S. occurs in the same (small) area that voted more Republican for president in 2008 - essentially, Appalachia and then trending west through Kentucky and Tennessee to Arkansas and Oklahoma:





While my argument is based on some guesswork (we don't know what the crossover is between the people contacted for the well-being survey and voters, and we're assuming there's not a sudden shift since the election, and we're assuming that voting more GOP correlates with being more religious, which people on both sides would agree with) but it is very difficult to argue that the unhappy places on the map are less religious than the happy coasts and big cities. What's really strange is that the least happy people voted to keep the same party in power - voted for more of the same.

So, next time somebody tells you that without religion, people would be miserable, ask them how to explain this.

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