This post presents an examination of the relationship between religious belief, religious participation and age.
Younger people tend to be less religious than older people
- Recent (2018) research by PEW compared the religious beliefs and practices of 18-39 year olds with those aged 40 and over. They found that younger people are less religious than old people in 41 countries, but there are only 2 countries in which younger people are more religious. There is no difference in 60 countries.
- According to the 2011 UK census, young people are much more likely to report that they have no religion
- People aged under 25 made up 31% of the population as a whole, but 39% of those reporting they had no religion
- Those aged 65+ made up 16.5% of the population as a whole, but just 5.6% of those reporting they had no religion.
- Also according to the UK National Census, ethnic minority religions tend to have a much younger age profile than Christianity or No religion. For example, 85% of Muslims are aged under 50, compared to around 55% of Christians.
Age and participation in New Religious Movements and the New Age Movement
- Eileen Barker’s research into The Moonies (a world rejecting sect) found that the membership base was relatively young, with most members being aged between 18-30.
- The New Age Movement tends to be made up of middle aged people, especially those in their late 30s and 40s.
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