Gallup on Happiness, Continued
Jews are the happiest group in America, and frum Jews are the happiest Jews! The New York Times continues in its coverage of the Gallup Well-Being Study
The bad news is that fewer Jews (far, far fewer) identified themselves as very religious than members of all other religious groups
I realize that more Orthodox Jews consider themselves “very religious” than non-Orthodox Jews. But we’re to the order of 8% to 10% of the population. I don’t think it’s necessarily true in reverse, that statistics about Jews who describe themselves as “very religious” is primarily about “frum Jews”.
What’s the difference between a very religious atheist and a non-religious one? And why are the religious atheists happier?
Rabbi Adlerstein, you seem surprised by this poll. But why? It is an explicit verse in Tehilim (Psalms): “The laws of Hashem are straight, they cause the heart to rejoice, the mitzvos of Hashem are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”
[YA – Not surprised in the slightest. Only surprised that the effect would be picked up by Gallup’s methodology!
Your point is well-taken, though. I have long been perturbed by the surprised reaction of some people in our community to stories of very accomplished people “giving it up” and becoming observant. Why should they be surprised at all? Do we have so little confidence in what we tell our students and children – that living with the Dvar Hashem is literally the best way to live in two worlds?]
There is less than 10% difference between highest and lowest group, is this meaningful?
[YA – It was not the percentage size of difference that bothered me, but whether any attempt had been made at determining statistical significance. I tried to get to the source document, but could not find it on the website for the study. Perhaps I didn’t look carefully enough.]
After having reviewed the Gallup poll site–
The findings are statistically significant. But we have to take some of them, such as minute differences of roughly 1 point between very religious and moderately religious Jews, with a grain of salt
When you have extremely large samples (in this case, 372,000 interviews) even very small differences can have statistical significance. This is when one needs to distinguish between statistical significance and practical significance (halachah l’maaseh, if you will).
Regardless of what this poll means, I’m happy.
Was income controlled for? IE comparing different religions within the each income bracket distinctly?
On the contrary – if you believe it to be true, then it ought to be picked up by Gallup’s methodology! If it’s “true,” but no actual people experience it that way, it’s not worth so much, really…!
I find the happiness increase for more religious people meaningfull. But the happiness increase for Jews over others is so small it could easily be attributed to higher average income level, support network etc, but not necessarily intrinsically religious factors.
It is not obvious to me that a very religious person should be happier. One who believes that one must account for ones actions to one who can’t be fooled and knows everything could be depressed worrying how one could answer the questions from a cross examiner who can’t be fooled and before a judge where one can’t plead the 5th amendment.
we must guard against accepting only those polls we’re “happy” with.
>The bad news is that fewer Jews (far, far fewer) identified themselves as very religious than members of all other religious groups
—- well, it would only be bad ‘news’ if this were different than in the past eg conservative temple membership down x %. but this isn’t saying there are fewer frum jews than 5-10 yr ago , is it? no one is denying that the statistical percentage of frum jews has remained roughly constant for decades….
“It is not obvious to me that a very religious person should be happier. One who believes that one must account for ones actions to one who can’t be fooled and knows everything could be depressed worrying how one could answer the questions from a cross examiner who can’t be fooled and before a judge where one can’t plead the 5th amendment.” – Mycroft
You have a good point, but on the other hand, at least there is a Judge. If you do not believe, then in the end life is merely “a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
For us, notwithstanding the Yom ha Din, we can still say “Ashreinu, Mah Tov Chelkeinu, U-Mah Naim Goraleinu.”
Speaking of the vast majority of Jews not being Shomer Shabbat, I have a very simple question I would like to ask here, and that is the following. I think it is safe to assume that the overwhelming majority of Jews who are not observant, are that way due to sheer ignorance. While having knowledge of Judaism does not guarantee that a person will be religious, it at least substantially increases such a possiblity.
And so, my question is, why is it that most Jews here in America know next to nothing about Judaism? Doesn’t it strike any of you as odd, that we Jews, who are the People of the Book, who even when completely secular have multiple college degrees, and yet most of our fellow Jews are so ignorant when it comes to our own Torah values and its interaction with the history of our people? I am not asking a rhetorical question at all here; I really would like to know the cause of this strange dichotomy.