Age Gap in Religion Around the World

Recent Pew Research Center surveys have found that in the United States, younger adults are far less likely than older generations to identify with a religion, believe in God or engage in a variety of religious practices. But this is not solely an American phenomenon; lower religious observance among younger adults is common around the world, according to a new analysis of international Pew Research Center surveys conducted in more than 100 countries and territories over the last decade. In many countries, the gap is relatively small, nearing no more than six percent. But a substantial number of countries have much bigger differences. More than two dozen countries, mostly with predominantly Christian populations in Europe and the Americas, have a religious gap much larger. The United States has a 17 percent gap, Canada has 28 percent, Germany has 18 percent, and Portugal has a 16 percent gap.  

What do these numbers mean? Some scholars argue that people naturally become more religious as they age; others say the age gap is a sign that parts of the world are becoming less religious over time.