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Gen Z: More Women Than Men Are Religiously Unaffiliated

Milton Quintanilla | Crosswalk Headlines Contributor | Updated: Apr 11, 2024
Gen Z: More Women Than Men Are Religiously Unaffiliated

Gen Z: More Women Than Men Are Religiously Unaffiliated

According to a recent survey, an increased percentage of young women have left their churches and identify as religiously unaffiliated.

The survey, released by the The Survey Center on American Life last week, featured a national representative sample of 5,459 American adults in 2023 and examined their views on religion. When compared to older generations, a majority of Gen Z women (57 percent) were found to have disaffiliated from an organized religion.

Meanwhile, men who have left organized religion were seen among baby boomers (57 percent), Generation X (55 percent) and millennials (53 percent), The Christian Post reported. 

According to the research, young women’s skepticism about religion primarily deals with the belief that a majority of churches do not “treat men and women equally.” For instance, 65 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 19 believe that churches treat men and women unequally, a belief also held by women between the ages of 30 and 49 (64 percent), women between the ages of 50 and 64 (57 percent), and women aged 65 and older (53 percent).

When men were asked whether churches treated men and women unequally, 55 percent of men between the ages of 30 and 49 answered in the affirmative, as well as 55 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 29, 49 percent of men between the ages of 50 to 64, and 51 percent of men aged 65 and older. 

Although Gen Z is the first generation in which a higher percentage of women have left organized religion than men, it is also the first generation in which a larger percentage of women (39 percent) identify as religiously unaffiliated than their male counterparts (34 percent). 

On the other hand, 37 percent of millennial men and 34 percent of millennial women identify as religiously unaffiliated. Other generations of religiously unaffiliated individuals were seen among Gen X men (23 percent) and Gen X women (27 percent) as well as baby boomer men (23 percent) than baby boomer women (14 percent).

The survey also lists additional factors that might explain why young women disaffiliated from organized religion. One reason stated is that “sixty-one percent of Gen Z women identify as feminist, far greater than women from previous generations.”   

Citing statistics from the Public Religion Research Institute, another reason why young people left organized religion had to do with churches’ supposed “negative treatment of gay and lesbian people.” The survey also cited research from the 2022 General Social Survey which found that 54 percent of young women believe that “abortion should be available without any restriction”, which was stated as another possible reason for the reason in religiosity among Gen Z women.

“The waning religious involvement among young women represents a unique challenge to churches and congregations. Studies show that women tend to contribute much more time and energy to community building and volunteer efforts in places of worship,” the report concluded. “Without this dedicated source of labor, many congregations will be unable to serve their membership and their communities.”

“Research finds that mothers play an instrumental role in passing on religious values and beliefs to their children. Americans who were raised in religious households credit their mothers more so than their fathers for leading in their religious upbringing, and children who are raised in mixed-faith households are more likely to adopt their mother’s faith in adulthood,” the report continued. “None of this is good news for America’s places of worship. Many of these young women are gone for good.”

Image credit: Unsplash/Baylee Gramling

Milton QuintanillaMilton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for CrosswalkHeadlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.

Gen Z: More Women Than Men Are Religiously Unaffiliated