Only 31% of Gen Z think religion is ‘very important’

Church building.
Church building. Photo credit Getty Images

A recent study conducted by The Wall Street Journal and the University of Chicago’s NORC has found that depending on the generation they belong to, Americans’ views on the importance of religion and patriotism are drastically different.

Among the generations, the survey found that older Americans were more likely to honor values considered to be traditional. Meanwhile, younger generations that reported seeing the value of patriotism and religious faith have declined.

The poll asked respondents what values they deemed to be “very important.” It found that of Americans in Generation Z — those ages 18 to 29 — only 23% said they found patriotism to be “very important,” while 31% reported the same for religion.

The results from the poll show the drastic difference between younger generations and their older counterparts.

For those older than 65, 59% said patriotism was “very important,” while 55% reported the same for religion.

One value the two generations were more closely aligned with was reproduction and having children. Among younger respondents, 23% said they saw reproduction as being “very important,” while 32% of those older than 65 said the same.

Overall, the poll found that Americans’ views on things like patriotism and religion have been in decline for some time. In 1998, 62% of all Americans found religion to be “very important,” with that number dropping to 48% in 2019 and 39% in 2023. For patriotism, the number fell from 70% in 1998, to 61% in 2019, before nose-diving in 2023 to just 38%.

While Americans may find things like patriotism and religion less important today than they did decades prior, the poll found there was more emphasis on community involvement, which rose from 47% in 1998 to 62% in 2019. However, the past four years have seen the number regress substantially, falling to 27% the past four years.

The number of people who found money to be “very important” has continued to rise over the last quarter of a century, with 43% classifying it as such in 2023, while only 30% held the same view in 1998.

Republicans were also found to be more likely to view religion (53%) and patriotism (59%) as “very important,” compared to their political opponents. In total, 23% of Democrats held the same opinion for patriotism and 27% for religion.

The poll was conducted from March 1-13 and included responses from 1,019 adults.

Another poll from the American Survey Center found similar results when it comes to Gen Z and religion, with data showing that more than a third of younger Americans identify as religiously “unaffiliated.”

The ASC poll also asked respondents if they believe it’s necessary to raise children in religion. The poll found that 58% of those in Gen Z do not believe it’s necessary.

Data from ASC also found that Gen Z (15%) is more likely to identify as never being religious compared to other generations like Millennials (10%) and Gen X (6%).

However, data did show that the percentage of those still in the religion they were raised in remained the same across the three generations (54%-55%).

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