(Oil rich) Kuwait and the US appears to stand out from the curve as being wealthy and religious. One thing that I did note, though, was that they only have six nations in “West Europe” and six nations in “East Europe”. I guess they only did religiosity surveys in those twelve european countries? According to NationMaster, there are some countries ahead of the US in per capita GDP. I’m unsure how exactly they came up with the “Per Capita GDP (Standardized)” numbers, if they somehow take cost of living into account, or what exactly they’re doing, but here’s top 15 “GDP per capita” nations according to NationMaster:
#1 Liechtenstein: $72,619.50 per capita
#2 Luxembourg: $71,904.24 per capita
#3 Norway: $57,131.42 per capita
#4 Jersey: $55,846.96 per capita
#5 Switzerland: $51,107.52 per capita
#6 Ireland: $49,743.42 per capita
#7 Denmark: $47,054.56 per capita
#8 Iceland: $45,407.73 per capita
#9 United States: $43,866.65 per capita
#10 Guernsey: $41,815.99 per capita
#11 Sweden: $41,323.93 per capita
#12 United Kingdom: $38,600.61 per capita
#13 Japan: $38,318.03 per capita
#14 Finland: $37,988.26 per capita
#15 Austria: $37,818.07 per capita
With the exception of the US and Japan, all of these countries are in europe. Ireland is very religious (with even higher church attendance than the US), but most of them are very non-religious.
Of those 15, the percentage of adults surveyed who claimed that they attend Church services one or more times per week:
United States: 44%
United Kingdom: 27%
(Link to NationMaster’s church attendance by country)
Given that Ireland and Kuwait are also “newly rich”, I sort of wonder if there would be a better correlation between religiosity and wealth over the past 100 years, as I would expect peoples’ religiosity to be based on parental influence which occurred decades earlier.
Anyway, there are plenty of ways to interpret this correlation. For example: poor people are more likely to cling to religion / pray for help, poverty increases uncertainty and uncertainty breeds religious belief, wealth is correlated with education and education decreases religious belief, etc.