The Gospel Coalition

The Story: Younger Millennials (ages 18-24) report significant levels of movement from the religious affiliation of their childhood, mostly toward identifying as religiously unaffiliated, according to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown's Berkley Center.

The Backgroung: The 2012 Millennial Values Survey took a random sample of 2,012 adults age 18 to 24. Interviews were conducted online in both English and Spanish between March 7 and March 20, 2012. The margin of sampling error for the entire sample is +/- 3.3 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence.

The Highlights:

• While only 11% of Millennials were religiously unaffiliated in childhood, one-quarter (25%) currently identify as unaffiliated, a 14-point increase.

• Catholics and white mainline Protestants saw the largest net losses (-7.9% and -5%) while black Protestants and white evangelicals saw the least decline (-1.1 and -0.8).

• College-age Millennials are more likely than the general population to be religiously unaffiliated. They are less likely than the general population to identify as white evangelical Protestants or white mainline Protestant.

• Millennials also hold less traditional or orthodox religious beliefs. Fewer than one-quarter (23%) believe the Bible is the word of God and should be taken literally, word for word. About 1-in-4 (26%) believe the Bible is the word of God, but that not everything in the Bible should be taken literally. Roughly 4-in-10 (37%) say the Bible is a book written by men and is not the word of God.

• Millennials' feelings toward present-day Christianity are fairly ambivalent. Approximately three-quarters (76%) of younger Millennials say that modern-day Christianity "has good values and principles" and 63% agree that contemporary Christianity "consistently shows love for other people." On the other hand, nearly two-thirds (64%) say that "anti-gay" describes present-day Christianity somewhat or very well and more than 6-in-10 (62%) also believe that Christianity is "judgmental."

• A majority of college-age Millennials say that abortion should be legal in all (24%) or most cases (30%). More than 4-in-10 say that abortion should be illegal in most (28%) or all cases (16%). Roughly 6-in-10 (59%) believe that at least some health care professionals in their community should provide legal abortions.

• Millennials are nearly evenly divided over whether sex between two adults of the same gender is morally acceptable (48%) or morally wrong (44%). But nearly 6-in-10 (59%) of college-age Millennials favor allowing same-sex marriage, compared to 37% who are legally opposed.

• Nearly 6-in-10 (57%) support making it more difficult to access Internet pornography compared to less than 4-in-10 who are opposed.

• Only one-in-four (25%) say they attend religious services at least once a week, while 3-in-10 (30%) say they attend occasionally (once or twice a month or a few times a year). More than 4-in-10 say they seldom (16%) or never attend (27%).

• One-third (33%) report that they pray at least daily and about 1-in-4 (27%) say they pray occasionally. Nearly 4-in-10 (37%) say they seldom or never pray.

• A majority (54%) believe that God is a person with who one can have a relationship. About 1-in-5 (22%) say that God is an impersonal force, and 14% say they do not believe in God.

• Fewer than 1-in-10 say that religion is very important or the most important thing in their life. Nearly 8-in-10 white evangelicals (78%) and black Protestants (77%) say that religion is either very important or the most important thing in their life.


Comments:

John Jacobs

September 19, 2012 at 09:52 PM

This generation is more connected and has access to more quality information than any other generation in human history. This is not surprising. If this is what education produces then that is what it does.

[...] College-Age Millennials Are Becoming Less Religious [...]

[...] “Narcissistic, broke, and 6 other ways to describe the Millennial generation,” reads the headline of a round-up on Millennials from The Week Magazine’s website, citing sources like The Fiscal Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Gospel Coalition. [...]

[...] way in which this disconnect manifests itself is on questions relating to religion. According to a Gospel Coalition poll taken in April of this year, 25 percent of millennial voters list themselves as having no religion [...]

[...] way in which this disconnect manifests itself is on questions relating to religion. According to a Gospel Coalition poll taken in April of this year, 25 percent of millennial voters list themselves as having no religion [...]

kristen

August 21, 2013 at 02:42 PM

We love our gay friends and want them to have equal rights. And people who continue to marginalize and discriminate against our friends are not people we want to be associated with. Love is bigger and more important than your interpretation of an anthology of ancient writings.

Joe Carter

August 21, 2013 at 02:36 PM

So are you saying that Millennials are more dedicated to homosexuality than to the Word of God?

kristen

August 21, 2013 at 02:26 PM

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2013/08/19/the-importance-of-your-gag-reflex-when-discussing-homosexuality-and-gay-marriage/
^Want to know why we're leaving? Here you go.

[...] College-Age Millennials Are Becoming Less Religious  Younger Millennials (ages 18-24) report significant levels of movement from the religious affiliation of their childhood, mostly toward identifying as religiously unaffiliated, according to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown’s Berkley Center. [...]

[...] College-Age Millennials Are Becoming Less Religious  Younger Millennials (ages 18-24) report significant levels of movement from the religious affiliation of their childhood, mostly toward identifying as religiously unaffiliated, according to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown’s Berkley Center. [...]

[...] College-Age Millennials Are Becoming Less Religious  Younger Millennials (ages 18-24) report significant levels of movement from the religious affiliation of their childhood, mostly toward identifying as religiously unaffiliated, according to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown’s Berkley Center. [...]

[...] “College-Age Millennials are Becoming Less Religious” by Joe [...]

[...] “College-Age Millennials Are Becoming Less Religious,” Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition [...]

Steve

April 25, 2012 at 09:40 AM

Support your local campus minister, folks.

Monica

April 24, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Interesting that the statement used was "religion is very important or the most important thing in their life" and not "God is very important or the most important thing in their life."

Rick

April 24, 2012 at 06:49 AM

That very last stat is very interesting.

[...] Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition reports that Younger Millennials (ages 18-24) report significant levels of movement from the religious affiliation of their childhood, mostly toward identifying as religiously unaffiliated, according to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown’s Berkley Center. Read the results in Views of the Millennials. [...]

Emily

April 23, 2012 at 11:34 AM

As a current college student attending a larger public university, these statistics seem almost optimistic compared with what it's really like. Please pray for those who minister and evangelize to us.

Westwardbound

April 23, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Revealing survey. Thank you for sharing this.

Heather E. Carrillo

April 23, 2012 at 10:57 AM

How bleak. I was actually reading "Suicide of a Superpower" by Pat Buchanan last night and he was kind of saying the same thing.

[...] College-Age Millennials Are Becoming Less Religious [...]