The Most Common Religious Identity For Young Americans Is ‘None,’ Study Suggests
Written by Black Voices on December 22, 2020
For years, researchers have watched as an rising variety of younger American adults selected to not determine with a particular non secular custom. A brand new report is providing additional perception into the beliefs ― and affect ― of this burgeoning group.
The most typical non secular identification amongst Individuals ages 18 to 29 is “none,” in accordance with a report from the conservative-leaning assume tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Multiple-third of younger adults (34%) surveyed recognized as religiously unaffiliated ― telling researchers they have been atheist, agnostic or “nothing specifically.”
There appears to be a generational divide over questions on God, doubtless influenced by the rise of those younger “nones.” As an entire, younger adults have been more likely to precise uncertainty about God. Solely 39% of younger adults stated they have been completely sure God exists, in contrast with 61% of seniors 65 and older, in accordance with an evaluation of the info AEI pulled for HuffPost.
Researchers additionally documented a modest distinction between younger and older Individuals over whether or not folks want God to be good. Thirty-four % of younger adults stated it was vital for an individual to consider in God to be ethical and have good values, whereas a better proportion of seniors, 43%, stated the identical.
Daniel Cox, a analysis fellow in polling and public opinion at AEI, informed HuffPost that attitudes on this query on God and morality have shifted markedly over the previous few years, pushed by the elevated social connection Individuals have with nonreligious folks.
“The truth is, younger persons are extra more likely to know an atheist than an evangelical Christian,” Cox stated.
The expansion of younger “nones” is slowly reshaping America’s non secular panorama. America has turn out to be much less Christian and fewer religiously observant in recent times. AEI discovered that, in whole, about 26% of all of the adults surveyed have been religiously unaffiliated.
The report discovered a divide between younger folks and seniors over the concept the U.S. is at the moment, and has all the time been, a Christian nation. Over 1 / 4 of younger adults (26%) stated the U.S. has by no means been a Christian nation, in contrast with solely 15% of seniors.
The report, printed Dec. 15, is AEI’s newest evaluation of information collected from 4,067 adults who participated within the American Nationwide Social Community Survey this summer time. Researchers requested a variety of questions ― searching for to not solely perceive respondents’ non secular identities and beliefs but additionally how their social networks affected these beliefs. They gathered this information by asking respondents to supply demographic info on as much as seven folks with whom they “mentioned essential issues and issues.” These seven folks have been thought of to be a part of the respondent’s core social community.
The researchers discovered that Individuals at the moment are extra more likely to have shut mates who’re “nones.” About 42% stated that they had an in depth social reference to somebody who was religiously unaffiliated ― a major enhance from 2004, when solely 18% of the general public stated the identical.
Spiritual respondents who counted a “none” inside their inside social circles have been much less sure in regards to the existence of God than those that didn’t affiliate with “nones.” This was notably obvious amongst Catholics. About 65% of Catholics who aren’t carefully linked to “nones” say they’re completely sure about their perception in God. Solely 36% of Catholics who had no less than one religiously unaffiliated shut pal stated the identical. Spiritual individuals who had no less than one “none” of their fast social circle have been additionally extra more likely to say that folks don’t have to consider in God to be ethical and have good values.
Earlier research from AEI and different teams have indicated that individuals who attended worship providers usually are additionally extra more likely to be sociable, politically engaged and concerned in neighborhood teams. However non secular respondents didn’t have bigger social networks than the unaffiliated. The truth is, the researchers reported that the social community measurement of religiously unaffiliated Individuals and white evangelical Protestants ― two teams that usually take polar reverse positions on political and social points ― was “almost indistinguishable.”
Cox stated the overwhelming majority of unaffiliated Individuals have a social tie who can also be unaffiliated.
“That is pretty extraordinary since there are few institutional buildings to assist nonreligious folks to develop connections,” he stated.
A minimum of by way of the dimensions of their social networks, it seems that the “nones” are doing simply wonderful.
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