More people drawn to religion after disasters

7:08 am on 9 December 2012

New social research shows people are drawn to religion during natural disasters.

Researchers from Victoria and Auckland Universities carried out a study of about 4000 people in 2009 and again in 2011, after the Canterbury earthquakes.

Dr Joseph Bulbulia of Victoria University said that levels of religious affiliation in New Zealand have been declining for 50 years, but there was a marked shift in the opposite direction after the Christchurch earthquake.

He said people were more likely to convert to a religious group if they lived in Canterbury than elsewhere in the country.

Dr Bulbulia said there was a 3.4% increase in religious faith in the region, compared with an annual decline of around 0.9% elsewhere.