Survey finds religion as least important factor in Irish people's lives

Irish people rank religion and spirituality as the least important thing in their lives, according to a new survey.

The VitalSigns study by the Community Foundation for Ireland (CFFI) found that education is the most important thing to Irish respondents when presented with a list of 119 categories.

The report graded 12 areas that affect the quality of life for people in Ireland.

"It combines this feedback with published factual data and expert leaders’ opinions to create a holistic view of life in Ireland today," said a statement accompanying the report.

The report grades each area on a scale of A-F, similar to a school report card.

Ireland achieved an overall grading of C+ for satisfaction with life. A comparable study for people living in Toronto also scored a C+, with Vancouver scoring a B.

The areas that Irish people are most satisfied with were Arts and Culture, rating this B+, Education and learning rating this C+ and Safety which also received a C+.

The areas that people are least satisfied with were work, equality and financial wellbeing at C-, Housing at C- and Health and wellbeing which also received a C- and stood out as the area that people are least satisfied with.

“The better we understand our communities, the better equipped we are to make decisions and take action to improve them,” said Tina Roche, CEO of The Community Foundation for Ireland.

“Ireland’s VitalSigns 2013 tells us what makes Ireland vibrant and what we have to celebrate. The report also highlights a number of gaps and challenges that we are facing.

“Identifying the areas that need improving and are most important to people provides us with an opportunity to create change and have a positive impact.”

The survey was compiled in September/October 2012. More than 1,000 people responded to requests to take part, with "nearly 600" people completing the survey, leaving "nearly 7,000" comments.

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