2017 Clergy Well-Being Survey Reveals Increasingly Active Clergy

August 3, 2017


The Center for Health of Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) released the 2017 Clergy Well-Being Survey Report with results of its United Methodist Church (UMC) questionnaire identifying clergy health trends.

The 100-question online survey was sent to 4,000 UMC clergy—1,360 responded (34% response rate), representing a cross-section of active UMC clergy by jurisdiction, gender, race/ethnicity, age and clergy status. The survey explored multiple dimensions of well-being (physical, emotional, financial, social and spiritual) and the vocational setting. These factors are found to influence our unique population and continue to be the focus of Wespath’s well-being efforts.

The key findings demonstrated significant progress in clergy activity. Specifically, we have seen a 16% increase in moderate activity levels since 2013. Clergy report nearly four and a half hours of moderate physical activity per week, compared to two and a half hours for a representative sample of U.S. adults.* Conversely, obesity levels remain high, and diabetes rates have not decreased. To improve well-being, Wespath plans to focus on nutrition education, prediabetes management and culture change among its populations.

Other Findings

  • 28% of all clergy have at least some functional difficulty from depressive symptoms—higher than a demographically-matched sample of U.S. adults
  • 25% of clergy experience work-related stress
  • Fewer report working long hours; however, more report less vacation time (one day less than the 2015 survey results)
  • Over one-half (52%) of clergy report they agree or strongly agree they are on track for a comfortable retirement

Click here to read the complete report.

* Clergy data compared to the 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)




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