November 24, 2015

For most Americans, Thanksgiving isn’t the only time for thankfulness

Thanksgiving who gives thanksThanksgiving is a time when Americans are supposed to reflect on what they are thankful for.

But it’s not the only time they do so. A large majority of Americans (78%) feel a strong sense of gratitude or thankfulness on a weekly basis, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center. And only 6% of Americans say they seldom or never experience these feelings.

That being said, some groups are more likely than others to express gratitude. For example, 84% of women regularly feel a strong sense of gratitude or thankfulness, compared to 72% of men. And nearly nine-in-ten Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and evangelical Protestants – traditionally some of the most observant religious groups – say they feel gratitude or thankfulness at least once a week.

Feelings of Gratitude by Religious Beliefs and PracticesWhile the survey question about gratitude did not ask explicitly about gratitude to God, regular feelings of gratitude are more common among those who are highly religious than among those who are not. For example, eight-in-ten or more Americans who believe in God, or who say religion is “very” or “somewhat” important in their lives, experience feelings of gratitude or thankfulness on a weekly basis. About nine-in-ten Americans who regularly attend religious services, pray, participate in prayer groups or read scripture say they regularly feel a strong sense of gratitude.

Among Americans who seldom or never participate in these activities, smaller majorities report feeling gratitude and thankfulness. For instance, among Americans who do not believe in God, 58% say they regularly feel a sense of gratitude. And roughly six-in-ten (62%) Americans who say that religion is “not too” or “not at all important” express these feelings.

In addition, feelings of gratitude are common among a wide variety of groups. For example, more than three quarters of Americans with less than a college education (77%) as well as those with a college degree (79%) feel gratitude and thankfulness on a weekly basis. And those at the low end of the economic ladder — adults who earn less than $30,000 per year — are equally as likely as better-off Americans to regularly feel thankful.

Topics: Religion and Society, Social Values

  1. Photo of Claire Gecewicz

    is a research assistant focusing on religion at Pew Research Center.

1 Comment

  1. bill walker9 months ago

    Well, I kind of ‘hedge my bet. Sometimes I pray to god & others I go with Zeus. Actually, they’re about even in granting me my wish. It’s so close that I can’t really notice any difference.