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Nearly Half Of Gen Z Identifies As Non-Religious, New Study Finds

Almost half of Generation Z say that they identify as either non-religious, atheist or agnostic, according to data published by the Cooperative Election Study Monday.

The study revealed the religious differences between five generations — Silent, Baby Boomer, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z — noting that the largest difference could be found in Gen Z, according to Ryan P. Burge, a professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University. Gen Z respondents that identified as non-religious increased by 3%, bringing the total to 48% of young Americans born after 1996.

Gen Z was the largest group to indicate no religious affiliation at 31%, with Millennials coming in second at 28%, according to the study. Overall, the number of those who identified as non-religious in all generations did not change from 2021 to 2022.

Additionally, Gen Z only made up 1.5% of the population surveyed in 2014 for the annual study, but as of 2022, they made up almost 15%, according to Burge.

Gen Z was also most likely to not attend a religious service at 38% , and even the Gen Z respondents who did identify as religious were the least likely to indicate that they attended religious meetings weekly, according to the survey. The Silent Generation, born before 1946, was the most likely to attend religious services at 27%, as well as the most likely to attend weekly at 12%.

Protestantism remained the largest religious group among all five generations, with Catholicism coming in second, according to the study. Millennials and Gen Z made up the smallest groups of Protestants at 26% and 20% respectively.

Burge also pointed out that Gen X is showing less interest in church than their predecessors at similar periods of life.

“But, take note of this – 60% of Generation X now report attendance at less than once a year, and 22% report weekly attendance,” Burge wrote. “Many of Gen X are reaching their peak in personal income and are being tapped to be leaders in all aspects of society. Yet, they are clearly not filling the churches, synagogues, and mosques each weekend. That could open the door for Millennials and Gen Z to step up sooner for leadership roles.”

The survey sample included 60,000 Americans “interviewed before and after the 2022 elections” in October and November.

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