Americans are more likely than the rest of the world to believe hard works pays off

Flying high.
Flying high.
Image: AP Photo/Ben Margot
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Big cars, high-volume sports, immense portion sizes. The US is different from other countries in many ways. Here’s another: Americans are more likely than most people to believe that hard work pays off.

In a 2014 Pew Research Center survey of 44 countries, 73% of Americans deemed hard work “very important” to getting ahead in life. Only 60% of Brits, and 49% of Germans, shared the sentiment, with the global median hovering at around 50%.

The same survey found that 57% of Americans polled disagreed with the notion that success in life is determined by forces outside one’s control, versus the global median of around 38%.

The nation’s religious fervor also sets it apart from other wealthy, developed countries, with over half of Americans claiming that religion is “very important in their lives,” according to Pew. (In comparison, fewer than 20% of Brits felt the same.)

Meanwhile, a separate Pew survey on Americans and religion, released on April 12, has unpicked the ways in which religion affects day to day life in the US.

While the researchers did not find differences between highly religious and less religious adults in terms of their approaches to health, diet, and exercise, they did note that 40% of highly religious adults (defined as those who pray daily and attend a religious service weekly) considered themselves to be “very happy,” versus just 29% of their less religious counterparts. More religious respondents also were more likely to engage with their extended families and get involved in volunteering activities, according to the research.