Pew Study: Americans Believe Secularization Bad for America

A Pew Forum survey of 4,006 adults, conducted nationwide from March 21-April 8, 2013, shows that 48 percent of Americans believe a growing number of “people who are not religious” is bad for American society, while only 11 percent say it is a good thing. However, 39 percent say it does not make much difference.

The study focused on Christian denominations and those unaffiliated with a religious organization.

The survey’s results indicate that 78 percent of white evangelical Protestants say that the growing number of people who are not religious is a bad thing, while 64 percent of black Protestants and 56 percent of white non-Hispanic Catholics share that view. Less than one in ten of each of these three groups say the trend toward secularization is a good thing for American society.

Among adults who do not identify with any religion, 24 percent say the trend toward non-religiousness in America is good, while 19 percent say it is bad. Most of the unaffiliated (55 percent) say religiousness does not make much difference for society.

When worship service attendance is factored in, 69 percent of adults who attend weekly worship services say that the growth of the non-religious is a bad thing, with a large majority of white evangelical Protestants (85 percent), white Catholics (74 percent), and black Protestants (73 percent) who attend weekly services saying the trend is bad. As expected, when worship attendance decreases, so does the number (67 percent, 45 percent, and 54 percent, respectively) who say the trend toward secularization is a bad thing.

While younger adults, ages 18-29, are less likely than their older counterparts to be affiliated with a religion, among those who say they do belong to a religious group, 47 percent believe having more people who are not religious is a bad thing for society.


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