Study Finds Americans are Praying Less, Becoming Less Religious

Veronica Neffinger | Editor, | Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Study Finds Americans are Praying Less, Becoming Less Religious

Study Finds Americans are Praying Less, Becoming Less Religious

A new study has found that Americans are less religious and pray less than they used to.


San Diego State University NewsCenter reports on the results of a new study conducted by San Diego State University psychology professor Jean M. Twenge.


Twenge discovered in her research that the percentage of Americans who pray reached an all-time low in 2014. 


Twenge collaborated on the study with Ryne Sherman from Florida Atlantic University and Julie J Exline and Joshua B. Grubbs from Case Western Reserve University. The researchers analyzed data from 58,893 survey respondents.


Survey results revealed that in 2014, five times as many Americans reported that they never prayed, compared to the early 1980’s. Additionally, in 2014, nearly double the number said they didn’t believe in God compared to the early 1980’s.


The research also revealed that Americans are overall less religious, attending religious services less, believing in the divine inspiration of the Bible less, and describing themselves as religious less.


These trends were most prominently observed in those ages 18 to 29.


“Most previous studies concluded that fewer Americans were publicly affiliating with a religion, but that Americans were just as religious in private ways. That’s no longer the case, especially in the last few years,” said Twenge, who is also the author of the book, Generation Me. “The large declines in religious practice among young adults are also further evidence that Millennials are the least religious generation in memory, and possibly in American history."  


Surprisingly, although the research found that Americans were becoming less religious, it also found that more are believing in an afterlife.


Twenge said that this belief “might be part of a growing entitlement mentality — thinking you can get something for nothing.”



Publication date: March 22, 2016