Levels of religiosity vary depending on a number of factors, including years of education, life expectancy, income, and levels of economic inequality. In Morocco, these levels of religion have increased significantly among young people over the past four years, says Arab Barometer.
In its latest note “Young people in the MENA region are the first to return to religion”, the Arab Barometer reveals that in most of the countries studied during the 2018-2019 wave, young people aged 18 to 29 were more more likely than those aged 30 or over to say they were “not religious”.
The highest percentages were observed in Tunisia with a rate of 46%. It is followed by Libya (36%), Algeria (24%), Morocco (22%), and Egypt (18%). This result has led some to wonder if the MENA region will become less religious in the coming years.
On the other hand, these rates of “non-religious” young people experienced a significant decline during the 2021-2022 wave, reaching 30% in Tunisia, 30% in Libya, 17% in Algeria, 10% in Morocco and 6% in Egypt. . It should be noted that during the same period, the Barometer observed that the rate of “religious” or “rather religious” people in the Kingdom rose to 90% to place itself behind Iraq (91%) and ahead of Algeria (87%).
According to the researchers, it is in times of crisis, such as a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, that the level of religiosity of those affected tends to increase. This is partly because religion offers teaching and mechanisms that help individuals overcome the difficulties they encounter in life.
Globally, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be no exception, with Google searches for prayers reaching the highest levels on record, while data from the United States reveals strengthening faith in the wake of the crisis, the document says.
According to the Barometer, the results of all waves emanate not only from the examination of personal identity, but also from engagement in religious practices. The percentage of citizens who report engaging in religious texts daily also increased between 2018-2019 and 2021-2022.
For all adult citizens, significant increases were observed in Morocco with an increase of 19 points or 34% in 2018-2019 and 53% in 2021-2022, in Tunisia of 13 points (49% and 62%) , in Palestine by 11 points (61% and 72%), in Lebanon by 7 points (37% and 44%) and in Algeria by 4 points (40% and 44%).
Engagement with religious texts tended to increase even more significantly among young people in the region between 2018-2019 and 2021-2022. The corresponding increase is 22 points in Tunisia, 18 points in Morocco, 13 points in Algeria, 6 points in Sudan, 5 points in Jordan and 4 points in Lebanon.
In short, citizens of the region, and particularly young people, have seen not only a significant decrease in the degree to which they report being “no religion,” but also corresponding increases in degrees of religious practice.
It should be noted that since its creation, the Arab Barometer has been monitoring rates of religious practice in the Middle East and North Africa. As in other parts of the world, data from nationally representative public opinion surveys have shown that there are significant changes in personal piety over time.