Friday, June 01, 2012

Huge religion survey: Gen X-ers less Christian, less Republican

By Michelle Boorstein

Generation X-ers — people born between 1965 and 1972 — are bucking previous demographic trends by becoming less religiously affiliated and less Republican even as they’ve aged, according to one of the biggest surveys of American religiosity.

The data released Thursday by Trinity College also show the percentage of Gen X-ers who call themselves Christian dropping by 10 percentage points in the period looked at, 1990 to 2008. In 1990, when Gen X-ers were ages 18 to 25, 85 percent of this group said they were Christian; the number dropped to 75 percent in 2008.

The analysis of Gen X people, who are today 40 to 47 years old, is the latest slice of data released from the massive American Religious Identification Survey, one of the country’s biggest demographic polls. It was done in 1990 with more than 113,000 people and again in 2008 with more than 54,000 people.

Barry Kosmin, an author of the study, said the data reflect the fluidity of American religiosity, with people more likely to switch their religious affiliation than their political party. While Gen X-ers are only a segment of the population, they make up many of the parents of today’s middle- and high-school children, he noted.

“This is good news for marketers and political consultants; it shows people can be persuaded, they change their minds,” he said.

The ARIS study seems to challenge what has been a core truth of American demographics: That people become more politically conservative and religiously affiliated as they age. the rest


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