Religion Among the Millennials

In a series of reports the Pew Research Center explored the behaviors, values and opinions of the teens and twenty-somethings that make up the Millennial generation (people born after 1980 who began to come of age around the year 2000).  Among other things, researchers found that the Millennial generation is considerably less religious than the generations that preceded it, but that those who are religious tend to be fairly traditional in their religious beliefs and practices.

The report used data from Pew Research Center surveys to make present-day comparisons between young adults and older adults.  In addition, data from General Social Surveys and Gallup surveys were used for cohort analyses comparing today's young adults with previous generations when they were in their twenties and early thirties.

26% of the Millennials report no religious affiliation (compared to 20% of Gen Xers and 13% of Baby Boomers at comparable points in their respective life cycles).  They attend religious services less often, and fewer of them indicate that religion is very important in their lives compared to older Americans.  They're also more accepting of homosexuality, the theory of evolution, and involvement in politics by churches.

But "young adults’ beliefs about life after death and the existence of heaven, hell and miracles closely resemble the beliefs of older people today. Though young adults pray less often than their elders do today, the number of young adults who say they pray every day rivals the portion of young people who said the same in prior decades. And though belief in God is lower among young adults than among older adults, Millennials say they believe in God with absolute certainty at rates similar to those seen among Gen Xers a decade ago. This suggests that some of the religious differences between younger and older Americans today are not entirely generational but result in part from people’s tendency to place greater emphasis on religion as they age."

Read more: resources:
Religion Among Teens: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (
Frederique Laubepin

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