Do Religious People Tip More?

by | Aug 23, 2022

Does consistent church attendance make people more helpful and generous? It’s a hard question to answer because researchers don’t have an opportunity to follow around people of varying religiosity and score their behavior. We each likely have our own answer to this question based on our own religiosity and our interactions with religious and non-religious people, but our impressions are likely skewed.

One way to test whether religious service attendance correlates with prosocial behavior is by observing tipping behavior. In an interesting experiment, researchers surveyed diners as they left various restaurants in Richmond, Virginia. The surveys (which were privately taken by the payor) asked about the amount tipped and whether the payor regularly attended religious services. Using regression analysis to adjust for other variables, such as household income, education, and whether the payor had ever worked as a server, the researchers determined whether there was a relationship between tipping and religiosity.

Their conclusion? There’s no relationship: religious diners tipped 3% less than non-religious diners, which was not statistically significant.


  1. Did the serve take into account the amount of moony the church goers contributions go to non-church Charites?

  2. We tip between 15%-20% based mainly on the level of service we receive, and we tend to tip better in small restaurants/cafes where we know the servers have fewer customers per day.
    Many years ago, one of my friends, who was a school teacher, worked as a waitress in an upscale restaurant during the summer months. She told me she made more waitressing than teaching!
    I wonder if there’s much difference in the two groups, among average income earners, when it comes to giving to good causes.


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