Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study: Generation X more loyal to religion

Baby Boomers are 40 to 50 percent more likely to 'disaffiliate' from their faith

Generation X, the set of Americans who came of age in the late 1980s and early 1990s, is often branded as a rules-rejecting, authority-questioning group.

But when it comes to religion, new research has revealed that Gen-Xers are surprisingly loyal to their faith – a finding that also suggests the rising non-religious tide in the United States may be leveling off.

In a study published in the latest edition of The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist Philip Schwadel showed that Gen-Xers are, in comparison with their Baby Boomer predecessors, far more likely to adhere to their religion. In fact, Boomers are 40 to 50 percent more likely than Gen-Xers to "disaffiliate" from their faith.

... more about:
»Gen-X »Gen-Xers »Schwadel »Social Impacts

As Generation X continues to grow older, this loyalty may translate into a more stable nation in terms of its religiosity, he said.

Schwadel examined General Social Survey responses from more than 37,000 Americans from 1973 to 2006. Using age, period and cohort models, the research zoomed in on two aspects of U.S. religious behavior through the decades:

Non-affiliation, which is the total percentage of Americans not involved with any particular religion; and

Disaffiliation, which measures those who had a religious affiliation while they were adolescents but then had no affiliation at the time they were surveyed.

"The proportion of Americans with no religious affiliation doubled in the 1990s and has continued to rise in the 21st century," Schwadel said. "With the decline in religious disaffiliation among post-Boomer cohorts, it is possible that this growth in non-affiliation may soon level off."

Though Generation X's religious adherents are relatively durable, the generation as a whole is still more likely than previous ones to be raised with no religious preference, according to the research. Religious non-affiliation in the United States grew from between 6 percent and 8 percent in the 1970s and 1980s to nearly 16 percent by 2006.

Like previous researchers, Schwadel attributes this to the so-called "1960s effect" -- Americans who were children and young adults in the 1960s were disproportionately likely to disaffiliate with religion compared with previous generations. Consequently, many Boomers raised their Gen-X children in a non-religious environment.

Schwadel's research, however, shows that Gen-Xers are behaving differently than their parents. Although Gen-Xers are relatively likely to be raised with no religious affiliation, those who are raised with a religious affiliation are considerably less likely than their parents to separate from religion.

So why are religious members of Gen-X so much less likely to leave religion? For one, Schwadel said, the American religious scene is more dynamic and textured than it was when Baby Boomers were coming of age in the '60s and '70s, which has left the younger generation more choices. If they aren't happy with a particular religion, they can more easily find a substitute instead of falling away entirely.

"Social scientists have noted that what we call the 'religious marketplace' has greatly expanded in recent decades," Schwadel said. "Historically, it was thought that this religious pluralism was detrimental to the vitality of American religion. While many still hold this view, others suggest that more choices lead to greater religious affiliation and commitment."

The long-term impact of the decline in disaffiliation among post-Boomers remains to be seen, he said.

"While this trend is good news for those who worry about declining religious adherence, the Boomers' enmity toward organized religion is still evident in the relatively large proportion of their children and grandchildren who are raised with no religious affiliation," Schwadel said.

Philip Schwadel | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Gen-X Gen-Xers Schwadel Social Impacts

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>