Religion is apparently weakening in America. A new report from the Pew Research Center shows that the percentage of Americans who say they believe in God, pray daily and attend church regularly is declining.
Among the findings:
- The share of Americans who say they are “absolutely certain” that God exists has dropped 8 percentage points, from 71 percent to 63 percent, since 2007, when the last comparable study was made.
- The percentage of adults who describe themselves as “religiously affiliated” has shrunk 6 points since 2007, from 83 percent to 77 percent.
- The shares of the U.S. adult population who consider religion “very important” to them, pray daily and attend services at least once a month have declined between 3 and 4 percentage points over the past eight years.
The shift is small but statistically significant, according to the authors, given that the changes have taken place in a relatively short period of time, and the survey sample is large enough (about 35,000 U.S. adults) to be considered reliable.
Skepticism about religion is especially evident among young people. The Pew study found that barely a quarter of “millennials” (born between 1981 and 1996) attend church services on a weekly basis, compared with more than half of U.S. adults born before 1946. Only about 4 in 10 millennials say religion is important in their lives, compared with more than half of those who are older, including two-thirds of those born before 1946.
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