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This study sought to better understand what spirituality means in the U.S. today by reflecting how people understand and experience spirituality for themselves, and how their spirituality relates to the way they engage with others and their community. This effort included people inside and outside religious institutions, those who consider themselves spiritual, and those who do not.

Using interviews, focus group conversations, and a survey of a cross-section of the U.S., we learned:

Spirituality is a complex, diverse, and nuanced phenomenon that people of all spiritual and religious self-identifications experience. 

The more a person identifies as spiritual, the more likely they are to take civic and political action.

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Part I: The Many Ways We Are Spiritual

Understanding What Spirituality Means to Americans

How do people describe spirituality for themselves?
To what extent do people consider themselves spiritual, both within and beyond religious traditions?
What do people believe about a higher power—whatever they name it?
How do people experience spirituality on a daily basis?
How do people see spirituality as part of the type of person they want to be?
What activities do people engage in as part of their regular spiritual practice?

Part II: Spirituality in Action

Exploring the Relationship Between Spirituality and Community, Civic, and Political Action

Are people who identify as more spiritual more likely to actively engage in their communities, and believe it is important?
How does a sense of accountability inform the way people connect inner spirituality and outer action?
To what do people experience a sense of connection, and how does it relate to their outer action?
What do people believe about the relationship between their spirituality and the way they engage with the world?