Christian women are more likely to identify as religious than Christian men, according to a new global analysis of attitudes towards religion.

The US-based Pew Research Center study, The Gender Gap in Religion Around the World, found that across "all measures of religious commitment", Christian women are more religious than Christian men, "often by considerable margins".

WHO'S ATTENDING? A Pew survey has found women are more likely to attend Christian worship services than men. PICTURE: Neil Vannett/www.freeimages.com

In the 54 countries where data was collected on the daily prayer habits of Christians, for example, Christian women reported praying daily more frequently than Christian men by an overall average gap of 10 percentage points and in 29 countries the gap was greater.

Similarly, women were more likely than men to say religion is "very important" to them by an average of seven percentage points with the gap the largest in South Korea (23 percentage points).

Meanwhile, based on data from 53 countries, Christian women are also more likely to attend worship services than Christian men, with an average gap of seven percentage points. The largest differences between men and women are in Colombia and Italy which have gender gaps of 20 per cent and 19 per cent respectively. There were no countries identified in which Christian men were significantly more likely to attend weekly services than women.

While the findings among Christians helped to fuel general global trends - which show that in general women are more religious than men with 83.4 per cent of women identifying with a religion compared with 79.9 per cent of men, they were in contrast to the findings gleaned from Muslims.

Among Muslims, the differences between the two genders were generally very low - with the exception of attendance at weekly worship services. This is explained, at least in part, to the fact that there are expectations for men to attend communal Friday worship services in a mosque, while this is not the case for women.

Comparing the various religions included in the study, the data showed that 53 per cent of those who claimed affiliation with Christianity were women (47 per cent men) - a proportion only passed by that of Buddhists, of whom 54 per cent were women. Some 50 per cent of Muslims are women, 52 per cent of Jews and 49 per cent of Hindus.

Other findings in the report showed that in the 63 countries where Christians and Muslims were asked about belief in heaven, hell and angels, in 47 of them (75 per cent) men and women were equally likely to profess a belief in heaven while in 83 per cent of the countries, men and women were equally likely to profess a belief in hell and in 76 per cent of surveyed countries, men and women were equally likely to profess a belief in angels.

Among developed countries, the study shows that while religious commitment, daily prayer and weekly attendance is very high in the US (which it says has the largest Christian population in the world with more than 243 million professing affiliation in 2010), it also generally had a much larger gender gap favouring women than other developed nations such as the UK, France and Australia.

~ www.pewresearch.org