Generational Replacement

Only Half of Millennials believe in God with certainty

Youngest Millennials are far less religious than their elders

Chart Younger Americans Are Less Religious

Pew Research Analysis1

… The second report on the results of the 2014 Religious Landscape Study documented the continued, rapid growth of the religiously unaffiliated population and described the importance of generational replacement in driving the rise of the “nones [those who claim no religious affiliation].” As older cohorts of adults (comprised mainly of self-identified Christians) pass away, they are being replaced by a new cohort of young adults who display far lower levels of attachment to organized religion than their parents’ and grandparents’ generations did when they were the same age.

The same dynamic helps explain the declines in traditional measures of religious belief and practice. Millennials – especially the youngest Millennials, who have entered adulthood since the first Landscape Study was conducted – are far less religious than their elders. For example, only 27% of Millennials say they attend religious services on a weekly basis, compared with 51% of adults in the Silent generation. Four-in-ten of the youngest Millennials say they pray every day, compared with six-in-ten Baby Boomers and two-thirds of members of the Silent generation. Only about half of Millennials say they believe in God with absolute certainty, compared with seven-in-ten Americans in the Silent and Baby Boom cohorts. And only about four-in-ten Millennials say religion is very important in their lives, compared with more than half in the older generational cohorts.2