from St Anselms Chapel Center @ USF
Look around a typical Sunday morning congregation and chances are you won’t see many college students. Is this a new trend? Is it getting worse? What do we really know about college kids and their religious practices and beliefs?
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has done some extensive research on Americans and religion, interviewing 35,000 adults and reporting on their religious beliefs and practices, as well as social and political attitudes. The resulting report, U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, includes a full section on the religion among Millennial age group (age 18 to 29).
There is, somewhat predictably, good news and bad news.
The report subtitle categorizes Millennials as “less religiously active than older Americans, but fairly traditional in other ways.” Specifics issues include:
There are, of course, some brighter (or less dark?) spots:
There is much more information available on the Pew Forum website on this topic! The Millennial report concludes with the following recommendations for further reading:
Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults by Christian Smith and Patricia Snell (2009)
After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion by Robert Wuthnow (2007).
And this in a review of this last book from Publisher Weekly: “Wuthnow argues that our society provides lots of structural support for children and teens, but leaves younger adults to fend for themselves during the decades when they’re making crucial decisions about family and work.”
Food for thought indeed…..
Thanks for reading!
P.S. You may have noticed that I’ve added a blog roll. (It was a bit of a challenge for me and I’m rather proud of the accomplishment.) I’ve started with just a few Episcopally relevant blogs/sites. If you have recommendations for more, please let me know!