Thursday, March 3, 2011

believers live longer

(or does it just seem that way?)

In the last post I mentioned that, statistically, believers have greater than average health and wellbeing, as indicated by a number of measures. Here's some data from the US that shows that churchgoers live longer.

Sociologist Bradley Wright used US survey data from 1999 to measure the variation in life expectancy for different levels of church attendance. It turns out that the more often you go to church, the longer you live - those attending at least weekly live almost 8 years longer (82.9) than those who never attend (75.3).

Graph from Bradley Wright's blog

Even if you don't like sitting in church services, for whatever reason, it looks like a good investment. If you can find a church that has 1 hour services, then an hour a week for 82.9 years is about 4325 hours, or 180 days, which is about half a year, to gain 8. I'm not sure whether such cynical attendance would gain the required result, but sleeping through sermons doesn't seem to cause any reduction in life expectancy (as far as we know)!

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