Social Indicators Research

, Volume 131, Issue 3, pp 1103–1119 | Cite as

A Triangulated and Exploratory Study of the Relationships Between Secularization, Religiosity, and Social Wellbeing

  • Chong Ho Yu
  • Danielle Reimer
  • Anna Lee
  • Jean-Paul Snijder
  • Hyun Seo Lee


By comparing mainly religious America and secular Europe, several scholars (e.g. Harris, Paul, and Zuckerman) suggested a strong correlation between secularization (non-religiosity) and social well-being. The authors of this paper argue that the preceding thesis may be too simplistic and Western-centric. Without attempting to affirm any specific hypothesis, these authors employed exploratory data analysis and data visualization to unveil patterns found in worldwide data, including the 2013 United Nations Human Development Report, the 2014 Gallup’s Global Wellbeing Index, and the 2013 World Values Survey. It was found that the relationship between secularization and social well-being is not straightforward or clear-cut. In some cases, secularization or lack of religiosity is seemingly linked to better quality of life (e.g. disbelief and inequality-adjusted human development index), while in other cases, the relationship is reversed (e.g. skepticism and adolescent birth rate). In most situations there is no association at all.


Wellbeing Secularization Religiosity Human development index Gallup Global Wellbeing World Value Survey Thriving Exploratory data analysis Data visualization 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chong Ho Yu
    • 1
  • Danielle Reimer
    • 1
  • Anna Lee
    • 1
  • Jean-Paul Snijder
    • 2
  • Hyun Seo Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Azusa Pacific UniversityAzusaUSA
  2. 2.Claremont Graduate UniversityClaremontUSA

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