Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shared their survey of college-age Millennials (Americans ages 18-24) concerning faith, values, and the 2012 election. The survey was jointly conducted by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Some of the religious highlights:
Younger Millennials report significant levels of movement from the religious affiliation of their childhood, mostly toward identifying as religiously unaffiliated. While only 11% of Millennials were religiously unaffiliated in childhood, one-quarter (25%) currently identify as unaffiliated, a 14-point increase. Catholics and white mainline Protestants saw the largest net losses due to Millennials’ movement away from their childhood religious affiliation.
Today, college-age Millennials are more likely than the general population to be religiously unaffiliated. They are less likely than the general population to identify as white evangelical Protestant or white mainline Protestant.
Millennials also hold less traditional or orthodox religious beliefs. Fewer than one-quarter (23%) believe that the Bible is the word of God and should be taken literally, word for word. About 1-in-4 (26%) believe Bible is the word of God, but that not everything in the Bible should be taken literally. Roughly 4-in-10 (37%) say that the Bible is a book written by men and is not the word of God.
Millennials’ feelings toward present-day Christianity are fairly ambivalent.Approximately three-quarters (76%) of younger Millennials say that modern-day Christianity “has good values and principles,” and 63% agree that contemporary Christianity “consistently shows love for other people.” On the other hand, nearly two-thirds (64%) of Millennials say that “anti-gay” describes present-day Christianity somewhat or very well. And more than 6-in-10 (62%) Millennials also believe that present-day Christianity is “judgmental.”