Young people around the world are less religious than their elders, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center surveys conducted in more than 100 countries during the last decade.
The gap is larger in some countries than in others, but it is apparent in widely different contexts, the research released today shows – though it is not universal.
In some countries there is no statistically significant different between the religious commitment of the old and young, while in the former Soviet republic of Georgia and in Ghana young people are more religious than older ones.
The report found variations to be more common in some geographic regions. In 14 out of 19 countries surveyed in Latin America and the Caribbean, adults under 40 are less likely to say religion is important. This is also true in about half of European countries and in the US and Canada.
The report suggests that as well as less religious younger generations being influenced by increased material wealth and security, older people might become more religious as they age.
It also says the most religious areas of the world are those experiencing the fastest population growth, due to high fertility rates and relatively young populations.
The United States is an outlier among rich countries due to the high frequency of daily prayer in the country.