Young People Are Less Religious Than Adults

There have been several surveys which have shown that younger Americans are less religious than older adults and now a new Pew Research Center study shows that this tendency is not unique to the United States. Pew Research Center has conducted surveys in more than 100 nations and the results have shown that in 46 countries around the world, adults under age of 40 are less likely to be religious than older adults.

While the results vary from country to country, averaging the national results in each of the countries surveyed yields a clear global picture: 51% of younger adults in the average country consider religion to be very important, compared with 57% among people ages 40 and older – a difference of 6 percentage points, according to Pewresearch.org. It is interesting to note that only two nations — Georgia in Europe and Ghana in West Africa — had young people who were more religious than the adults.

Studies have suggested different explanations to those results. One theory says that people naturally become more religious as they become older because they approach and more often consider their own mortality. Another theory connects economic conditions and religion, saying that as economic conditions improve and people face fewer problems they become less religious. Both of this two theories make sense and it is possible that there are many different factors which influence this trend, also they are probably connected and overlapping.

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It seems that religion is becoming less important in people's lives, and although there is a possibility that younger people, who are now less interested in religion, become more religious as they grow older, they are still going to be less interested in God than their predecessors. As Patheos reports, Yonat Shimron of Religion News Service notes that the “survey suggests that even if today’s younger adults become more religious over time, they will likely be less religious than previous generations.”

Although the results show that younger people are less religious the world itself is not automatically becoming less religious. The reason behind this is that religious countries tend to have much higher population growth than those countries that are less religious. For example, according to Pewresearch.org, sub-Saharan Africa – which has the world’s fastest population growth – also has the smallest age gap on importance of religion and has a high rate of religious commitment overall. In the average country in the region, 88% of younger adults and 89% of older adults say that religion is very important in their lives.

Photo Credits: Vox Media

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