Social Indicators Research

, Volume 81, Issue 2, pp 417–434 | Cite as

Religiosity and quality of life in South Africa

  • Stephen RuleEmail author


Using nationally representative survey data, this paper explores the relationship between religiosity and quality of life. Three indicators of religiosity are used: (i) frequency of attendance at religious services or meetings, (ii) orthodoxy of beliefs in relation to Biblical teachings and (iii) religious denomination. Quality of life (QoL) is measured in terms of (i) household access to modern conveniences, (ii) self-assessed life satisfaction and (iii) level of satisfaction with government institutions. The data shows a significant but not very strong statistical relationship between religiosity and QoL. People who attend religious meetings most frequently and who hold the most orthodox religious views are thus more likely to have access to modern conveniences and to be satisfied with their lives. Satisfaction with government, however, tends to be highest amongst nominally religious people and lowest amongst both the most orthodox and the least religious.

Key words

denomination life satisfaction orthodoxy quality of life religion 


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The survey to collect the data discussed in this paper was conducted while the author was Director of Surveys at the Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria. My gratitude for the insightful comments, especially on the value of public opinion, that were provided by Lawrence Schlemmer after his reading of an initial draft of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Outsourced Insight ccGreensideSouth Africa

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