Study Finds Americans, and Younger Americans Specifically, Are Turning Away from Religion
The poll surveyed about 35,000 young adults in the U.S.
The influence of organized religion is declining in America, particularly among the younger half of the country, a new Pew Research Center poll has found.
The poll surveyed about 35,000 U.S. adults, and its primary point of comparison is a similar study in 2007.
Among the findings: 63 percent of Americans are “absolutely certain” that God exists, an eight-point decline from 2007; 77 percent of adults describe themselves as “religiously affiliated,” a six-point decline; and lastly, the portion of U.S. adults who consider religion “very important” to them, pray daily and attend services at least once a month has dropped between three and four percentage points over the past eight years.
The trend is especially prominent in younger Americans. Pew researchers found that just 27 percent of “millennials” (born between 1981 and 1996) visit church services on a weekly basis, versus the 51 percent of U.S. adults born before 1946 who do so; and only about 40 percent of the younger group say religion is important in their lives.
“The oldest Millennials, now in their late 20s and early 30s, are generally less observant than they were seven years ago,” the authors write. “If these trends continue, American society is likely to grow less religious even if those who are adults today maintain their current levels of religious commitment.”
But they also caution that different studies have shown that people turn increasingly towards religion as they age. That said, the data does not show that trend occurring within the millennials questioned in the study.