According to a poll released on Tuesday, it is found that religious belief and practice among the generation of Americans born in the last two decades of the 20th century is shifting the US towards becoming a less devout nation.
The trend is more pronounced among young adults. The proportion of Americans who say ‘God exists’ fell to 63 percent in 2014 from 71 percent in 2007, while 89% of US adults say they believe in God.
The percentage of atheists or those who describe their religion as “nothing in particular”, have gone to 23% of the US population, compared to 16% at the time of the last comparable survey in 2007.
But three out of four Americans still have some religious faith, mainly Protestant denominations, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus.
Youth largely equates with a lack of religious activity, says the report. Additionally, more than a third of millennials described themselves as religiously unaffiliated, a related Pew analysis revealed. And religious “nones,” growing in large part due to millennials identifying as such, are less likely to believe in God or to participate in religious activities
At the same time, Christians dropped from about 78 percent to 71 percent of the population. Protestants now comprise 46.5 percent of what was once a predominantly Protestant country.
Overall, 55% of American adults say they pray daily, 53% say religion is very important in their lives and 50% attend a religious service at least once a month. Significantly, more women (64%) pray on a daily basis than men (46%).
The changes are reflected in support for the two main political parties, with “nones” now forming the largest single religious group among Democrats, while evangelical Protestants make up the largest religious bloc among Republicans.
Nearly all major religious groups have become significantly more accepting of homosexuality, the report says. A majority of all Christians now say homosexuality should be accepted by society, up from 44% in 2007 to 54% in 2014, with the proportion of Catholics up from 58% in 2007 to 70% in 2014.
11% of all US Christians say they speak or pray in tongues at least once a week. Only 40% of Jews never eat pork, compared with 99% of Muslims who never eat it.
Both the 2007 and 2014 studies surveyed more than 35,000 adults and had margins of error of less than 1 percentage point.