Americans are becoming less religious, judging by church attendance, prayer and belief in God, and the trend is most apparent with millennials, according to the newly released Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study.
While still high compared to other industrialized nations, the percentage of U.S. adults who say they believe in God fell to 89 percent in 2014 from 92 percent in 2007, NBC News reported on the study, adding that the figure for more devout Americans who say they are "absolutely certain" God exists fell to 63 percent in 2014 from 71 percent in 2007.
This declining religiosity is most remarkable among millennials — only half of those born from 1990 to 1996 are absolutely certain of God, compared to 71 percent of those born from 1928 to 1945, NBC reported, also stating that the survey found that younger people are less likely to pray daily or attend religious services.
Pew researchers attribute these declining numbers to the dying off of older believers and a growing number of millennials who claim no religious affiliation, USA Today reported in a related article, adding that the religiously unaffiliated and “nones,” which include atheists and those who describe their religion as “nothing in particular,” have grown to 23 percent of the U.S. population, compared to 16 percent at the time of the last comparable survey in 2007.
Andrew Walsh, a historian of American religion at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, said to USA Today that today’s religious affiliation in America is “increasingly shaped by individual choice and less by inheritance from a family or community,” adding that younger Americans who choose not to affiliate with a religious institution, may “still [be] spiritual in some ways.”
One sign of this shift to broader spirituality as opposed to organized religion is the proliferation of yoga studios throughout the nation, USA Today claimed. Most enthusiasts of the meditative practice are not actively looking to convert to Hinduism, Walsh said in the article, but they may nevertheless find the activity spiritually gratifying.
The 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study interviewed 35,071 Americans, and has a margin of error of plus or minus less than 1 percentage point, USA Today reported.