WASHINGTON (CNS) — A study by the Pew Research Center found that young adults worldwide are generally less religious than older adults by a variety of measures.
The study, which drew upon previous surveys by Pew, concluded this was true regardless of the predominant religion in the country, its level of economic development, or its level of religiosity. It defined young people as those under 40 years of age and older people as those 40 or older.
In addition to determining the differences between the rates of religious observance of younger and older people, the study, published in mid-June, attempted to identify possible causes for those differences.
As life expectancy, the average amount of schooling, income equality, and gross domestic product increase, the study found that religious observance decreases, with very few exceptions.
For example, of the 102 countries included in the report, the United States was the only one with an above-average GDP (gross domestic product) per capita and an above-average rate of daily prayer.
“Religious commitment is lower in places where life is easier. And in places where life is steadily becoming easier, the theory goes, younger adults generally are less religious than their parents’ and grandparents’ generations,” the report says.
The correlation between religious commitment and the ease of life also seems to run in the other direction. In many of the countries in which young adults are more religious than older adults, e.g., Ghana, Liberia, Chad and Georgia, civil wars, violence, or other forms of unrest occurred while young people were coming of age.
In 41 of the 106 countries surveyed, young people were less likely to have a religious affiliation than older people.
Editor’s note: The complete study can be found at http://www.pewfo rum.org/2018/06/13/the-age-gap-in- religion-around-the-world.