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The American Enterprise Institute has a new survey regarding the decline of religion in American family life. Young Americans are different from their grandmothers and grandfathers in many ways when it comes to religion.
For example, there are generational differences in religious upbringing. Young adults (age 18 to 29) are far more likely to have been raised without religion than are seniors (age 65 or older). Young adults are about twice as likely as seniors to say they never said grace or prayed at mealtime (38 percent vs. 21 percent). Only 27 percent of young adults said they attended Sunday school at least weekly. Among seniors, more than half (55 percent) said they attended Sunday school or a similar type of religious program during their childhood.
The survey shows the decline of religious marriages in America:
For older married Americans, a religious wedding — officiated by a religious leader and held in a religious venue such as a church — was the most common type of ceremony. Six in 10 (60 percent) married Americans age 65 or older report that they were married by a religious leader in a church or religious setting. Another 13 percent say they were married by a religious official in a nonreligious setting. Roughly one-quarter (27 percent) say their wedding celebration was officiated by a justice of the peace, friend, or family member in a nonreligious location. Younger married Americans (age 18 to 34) are increasingly opting for secular venues and ceremonies. Only 36 percent of younger married Americans say their ceremony was officiated by a religious figure and held in a religious location such as a church or worship center.
The most important reason why young couples don’t want religious ceremony for their wedding is because they are not religious. Great news is that there is evidence that this trend will continue. Among Americans who have never been married, only 30 percent say they would prefer to be married in a church or other house of worship by a religious leader. Fourteen percent say they would like to be married by a religious leader in a nonreligious setting, while the majority (56 percent) say they would prefer to have their wedding officiated by a justice of the peace, friend, or family member in a nonreligious location.