A new Gallup poll shows that Alabama, Iran and Zimbabwe have similar percentages of religious people. The percentages were 82 percent for Alabama, 83 percent for Iran, and 81 percent for Zimbabwe.
How this relates to poverty is that the Gallup poll findings show a correlation between religion and income. This AFP article that we found in Google News allows Gallup to explain the link.
"Eight of the 11 countries in which almost all residents (at least 98 percent) say religion is important in their daily lives are poorer nations in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia," the report said.
The poverty rate in Alabama was 17 percent in 2007, according to the US Census Bureau, while World Bank statistics show around 20 percent of Iranians live in poverty.
In Zimbabwe, a country where the economy has been plummeting for a decade and inflation is running at several billion percent annually, at least 80 percent of the population live below the poverty line.
Also giving weight to the analysts' theory is the fact that the most religious US state, Mississippi, is also the poorest.
Eighty-five percent of Mississippians say religion is a key part of daily life, according to the poll, for which 1,000 adults each were interviewed in 143 countries between 2006 and 2008.
One in five Mississippians live in poverty, US Census data shows.
"On the opposite end of the spectrum, the 10 least religious countries studied include several with the world's highest living standards, including Sweden... and Japan," the report said.
Religion was a key part of daily life for 17 percent of Swedes and 25 percent of Japanese.