Nov 25, 2018

Exclusive poll: Most Americans say religion will live on

Data: SurveyMonkey online poll conducted Nov. 13-15, 2018, among 3,222 U.S. adults. Total margin of error is ±2.5 percentage points; Poll methodology; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Almost three-quarters of Americans say they expect organized religion to live on well into the future — including 64% of 18-34 year olds, despite the decline in religious practice among millennials, according to an Axios poll conducted by SurveyMonkey for "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: The 18-34 year olds are the only age group more likely to say their interest in religion has decreased, rather than increased. But millennials who think religion is here to stay are still in the majority.

  • Other surveys have shown that young adults are more disconnected from religion than other age groups. American 18-29 year olds have the highest share of people who say they are "unaffiliated" with religion at 38%, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.
  • They also have the lowest share who believe in God, according to the Pew Research Center, with just 51% saying they are "absolutely certain" of God's existence compared to 62% of 30 to 49-year-olds.
  • Religious identity is significantly more diverse among that age group, with only about a quarter identifying as white and Christian compared to almost two thirds of 65+ year olds, per PRRI.
  • And Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism have the highest shares of young people among their practicing American populations, with 44% of American Muslims being under the age of 30, according to Pew.

The bottom line: Most young adults in America may think religion will continue on into the future, but their religious landscape and beliefs are rapidly changing.

Methodology: This analysis is based on a SurveyMonkey online poll conducted among adults ages 18 and older in the United States. Respondents were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.

The survey was conducted Nov. 13-15 among 3,222  adults. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, and full crosstabs are available here.

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