Social Media Sheds Light on Why American Millennials Don’t Identify With Religion

If I am not for my selfie, who will be for me?(Reuters/Carlo Allegri)
If I am not for my selfie, who will be for me? (Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

American millennials—those born between 1982 and 1999—are less likely to identify as religious than previous generations at the same age, according to a new analysis of a combined large survey.

Researchers analyzed survey data from more than 11 million respondents, consisting of everyone from eighth graders to college-goers in the period between 1966 and 2014. The analysis, published in the journal PLOS One, reveals that even though the majority of adolescents still identify as religious in some way, a growing number is identifying as having no religion.

The trend begins to appear in 2000, when the first millennials began answering some of these surveys. Of the college students who started in 1970, for example, 12% said they never attended religious services, whereas today as many as 27% say that. College students who identified as having no religion have increased from 13% to 25% in the same time period.

According to Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego University and lead author of the study, this is one of the first long-term studies that connects a trend to a specific generation. Though short-term survey results can help give a snapshot of trends at a time, they don’t show trends that may affect entire generations.

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SOURCE: Katherine Foley

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