This Is How Americans Stand Out from Rest of World

Posted March 23rd, 2015 at 12:50 pm (UTC-4)

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

Americans still think hard work will take them places. That sense of can-do optimism sets people of the U.S.A. apart from the rest of the world.

In a Pew Research Center survey of people in 44 countries, 57 percent of Americans disagreed with the statement, “Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control.” That percentage was much higher than most other countries and high above the global median of 38 percent.

When asked–on a scale of 0 to 10–how important working hard is to getting ahead in life, 73 percent of Americans gave it a “10” or said it was “very important.” Among the other 44 countries, the global median was 50 percent.

When compared to other wealthy countries, Americans also stand out when it comes to their religiosity. People in richer nations are usually less likely than those in poorer countries to say religion plays a very important role in their lives. But not when it comes to Americans.

US stands out as rich nation highly religious

More than half of Americans (54 percent) say religion is very important in their lives. That is much higher than people in Canada (24 percent), Australia (21 percent) and Germany (21 percent), which are the next three wealthiest economies Pew surveyed from 2011 through 2013.

In the U.S., 53 percent say belief in God is a prerequisite for being moral and having good values, compared to 23 percent in Australia and 15 percent in France, according to the study.

11 responses to “This Is How Americans Stand Out from Rest of World”

  1. Anh says:

    I do not think these listed things in the article are the outstanding and making the Americans rich. No, no. Yes, they believe in Fate made by their mind, their hand, their effort.

  2. Daniel says:

    It is interesting to note that when asked the question if belief in God is necessary for morality (the last question in the article), there is a significant difference as compared with the other question of the importance of religion in their lives. Just to give one example (the others can be seen by clicking), South Korea suddenly jumps up to be even with the United States. I suppose this is an example of the importance of how one phrases the question. One thing is sure, America has been blessed with more than 200 years of freedom of religion. Ever since the French revolution, (which slaughtered many Christians and then went on to invade much of Europe), there has been a tendency in much of Europe to restrict what Americans would regard as freedom of religion, especially in the area of university education. All of this contributed to the strength of Communism which is aggressively anti-religious. No wonder, then, that China is close to zero!

    • Cranksy (USA) says:

      Daniel, you seem to be a thoughtful person. How do you explain Malaysia being one of the countries farthest from the curve?

      • Daniel says:

        Dear Cransky, thank you for your kind remark. The bottom line of the graph indicates how much income they have in the specified country. The side line instead indicates how important they feel religion is in their life. I would say then that it is the fact that Malaysia is a bit wealthier than the other nearby countries explains why it is somewhat detached from the group in which around 80% see religion as important.

        • Cranksy (USA) says:

          WIth all due respect, Daniel, is Japan a counter-example to an idea/belief you expressed in your original comment? Japan doesn’t have a history of communism. Does Japan restrict in their universities or otherwise freedom of religion? As you can see from the graph, only 10% of the Japanese find religion important.

          • Daniel says:

            Japan is a very interesting case. I wonder how they understood the question. Many are Buddhists or follow Shinto beliefs. Buddhism is officially atheist in the sense that they do not worship a Supreme Being who is the Creator of the universe. Their morality is based on the teachings of Buddha, but he is not God in their religion; neither is he seen as a Creator. Yet again, if you look at the last link that the article gives 40% of the Japanese say they believe that belief in God is necessary for morality. Notice, by the way, China, which officially is Communist (although by now they are certainly light years away from Marx) does not even appear at all in the last survey.

  3. Sebastian says:

    Absolutely, Americans are unique people. We are a young nation but a vital, innovative, hard working population. Most of all we believe in ourselves and our ability to solve anything. No country in the world has this much success in its short history and most importantly, we are a free nation.

    • Kanu says:

      Aaaaaand totally impervious to self-criticism. As persons, as a people, and as a nation.

      • Jacob (USA) says:

        Well, that’s a staggering generalization about 3 x 10^8 people… I find that as Americans we don’t value education as much as we should, our nutrition is generally atrocious and many of us are utterly ignorant of world events. Also, if your intent is to say Americans don’t criticize themselves, then it would be more appropriate to say we are afraid, or allergic to self-criticism rather than impervious to it, because that implies we excel at addressing our own shortcomings.

    • Joe Sebastian says:

      “Freedom” is an illusion, and the US is becoming increasingly less “free”. NSA, Persecution of whistleblowers, extreme political division fueled by corporate propaganda machines and the oligarchs. “Freedom” has become little more than another propagandistic slogan to promote worldwide military actions, as has been true since before the Cold War.

  4. Lorre says:

    Having Gods favor on our country has been an important part of our countries success. Also, other countries have a strong work ethic, too. What sets us apart is that in America we are free to pursue our dreams and become as wealthy as we want without government intrusion in our lives. The more people try to change this the more we will be just like other countries.

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