Religious observance continues gradual decline, Pew Foundation study indicates

Posted at 7:23 PM, Nov 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-03 21:23:14-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Americans are steadily becoming less religious, though they still report strong spiritual experiences and belief in God.

The Pew Research Foundation came to those conclusions after surveying more than 35,000 Americans.

From 2007 to 2014, the number of Americans reporting affiliation with a particular religion went from 83 to 77 percent. The remainder report being atheists, agnostics or simply having not affiliation.

Religiosity declines by generation as well, according to the study. Thirty-nine percent of young Millennials report praying daily. That's compared to 56 percent of generation X and 61 percent of Baby Boomers.

Perhaps more significantly, previous generations were more religious when they were the same age as Millennials are currently, says Pew's Director of Religion Research, Alan Cooperman.

"It is possible that as Millennials age they become more religious, but they started out less religious than previous generations started out," said Cooperman.

Among the respondents, 600 LDS believers provided Pew with a perspective on how Mormons compare with members of other faiths.

Mormons resemble evangelical Protestants and Black Protestants in the extent to which they say faith is an important part of their lives.

They also tend to share more conservative social beliefs with the same groups.

For example, 36 percent of Mormons say they think homosexuality should be accepted in society. The average among all Christians on that question is 54 percent.