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Millennials and God: New Study

Only 58% of Millennials are “absolutely certain” that God exists, according to a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center. This is lower than any other generation of people as indicated by the graph below.

millennials and God

Additionally, 29 percent of Millennials are not affiliated with any religion. This is in contrast to Gen Xers (21%), Boomers (16%) and the Silent Generation (9%).


Further, only 36 percent of Millennials consider themselves a religious person. This is considerably different from older generations as indicated in the graph below.

millennials see themselves

This chart also identifies more than half (51%) of Millennials as supportive of gay rights, the least patriotic of any other generation, and the least likely to describe themselves as an environmentalist. In all four areas, Millennials are markedly different than older generations.

What can we learn from this research?

1.  Millennials do not follow the trends of the older generations. They believe what they do and will not be pressured into anything different.

2. Millennials are a generation that is still growing and forming their own opinions. It should be noted that adults of older generations typically increase their belief in God as they get older. It may be that the faith of Millennials will increase.

3. We should not make hasty conclusions. We may need to more closely examine this research to understand it more completely. For example, in my association with Millennials, I have discovered that the word “religion” is changing. In fact, to many Millennials, the word actually has a negative connotation. This generation may be more apt to describe themselves as “spiritual”. We may need to adjust the wording in our research to reflect changing definitions. Further, we should avoid over-generalizing or “pigeon-holing” generations, but consider each person as an individual. 

What can you observe from this research?

These findings are based on a new Pew Research Center survey conducted
Feb. 14-23, 2014 among 1,821 adults nationwide, including 617 Millennial adults, and analysis of other Pew Research Center surveys conducted between 1990 and 2014.

Complete report: Pew Research Center

Related Posts
Millennials Open to Spiritual Discussions
Personal Evangelism in the U.S.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Interesting. This falls in line with an article I read in Charisma several months ago.

    March 12, 2014
    • Actually, the Charisma survey isn’t similar to the Pew research at all: it was flawed from the very beginning (to be fair, it wasn’t a Charisma study but a “study” by the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches).

      The questions were leading questions designed to get the answer that was pre-determined. It was poorly designed. That survey used only three questions, was conducted by a group with a clear “anti youth ministry” bias, and was conducted via their website without any controls to prevent a person from taking the same survey multiple times.

      It begins with a quote from a legitimate Barna research study that seemed to give the NCFIC study credibility. But the two really had nothing to do with each other.

      March 13, 2014
      • Hi Darryl,
        Thanks for your comment. Yes, the Charisma study and the Pew Research Center Study are vastly different. The Pew Research Center is a highly credible research organization that has been around for many years.

        March 13, 2014
  2. I agree with most of your points here. However point #2 may be too positive. There is a concern that the Millennials are not like the previous generations who could be expected to come back after a period of searching or rebelling.

    David Kinneman of the Barna Research Group says this: “The significant spiritual and technological changes over the last 50 years make the dropout problem more urgent. Young people are dropping out earlier, staying away longer, and if they come back are less likely to see the church as a long-term part of their life. Today’s young adults who drop out of faith are continuing something the Boomers began as a generation of spiritual free agents. Yet, today’s dropout phenomenon is a more intractable, complex problem.”

    That’s not to douse negativity on your excellent blog post–but I think we need to be careful of unintentionally giving people the idea that “this is just a phase like what other generations went through.” There does seem to be a difference–the culture is radically shifting.

    Even so, it’s still a great post. Thanks for writing it!

    March 13, 2014
    • Good point, Darryl. Only God knows what will happen in the future. Thanks for your comment!

      March 13, 2014

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