Belief in God is bottom of the list of priorities for Gen Z

Published 27 August 2019  |  
(Photo: Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez)

When it comes to what young Americans value most, religion trails far behind hard work, community and tolerance, according to new research.

A new study of Americans' most cherished values by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News finds that for Gen Z - those aged 24 and younger - God is barely on the radar, with only a third saying it was important to them, compared to over half of the Baby Boomer generation.

The survey of 1,000 people found an overall decline in the value placed on religion, with only half saying it was very important to them, down from 62 per cent when a similar survey into American values was conducted in 1998.

For Gen Z, they were most likely to choose hard work, followed by tolerance for others and community involvement as their most cherished values.

In addition to religion, this age group was far less likely than others to value having children.

Out of the total surveyed, 43 per cent it was 'very important' to them to have children, a 16 per cent drop from 1998. But this was considerably lower within the 18- to 38-year-old age cohort where just over a third said having children was important to them. Within the over 55s group, this figure was much higher with more than half regarding it as important.

"There's an emerging America where issues like children, religion and patriotism are far less important," Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt, told WSJ.

"And in America, it's the emerging generation that calls the shots about where the country is headed."

Recent research paints a mixed picture, though. A study conducted earlier this year by Barna found that Millennial non-Christians were more likely than older non-Christians to be interested in spiritual issues.

The 'Reviving Evangelism' study found that nearly three quarters of non-Christian millennials had at least one conversation about their religious beliefs with a close friend or family in the past year, far higher than among older non-Christians (52 per cent).

Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) said they had spoken about their beliefs with a Christian, compared with 44 per cent of older non-Christians and they were twice as likely to express a personal interest in Christianity (26 per cent against 16 per cent).

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