Study: Most Teenagers Still Take After Their Parents’ Religious Beliefs

A new study from Pew shines a light on just how faith is passed down over generations in America today. The big takeaway: teenagers still take after their parents’ religious beliefs, for the most part. That’s especially true of Catholics and evangelicals. 81 percent of teenagers raised by Catholic parents and 80 percent of teenagers raised by evangelical parents said they were also Catholic and evangelical, respectively.

It’s less true of teenagers raised in Mainline Protestant households, where only 55 percent of teens said they shared their parents’ religious beliefs.

Most parents and teens share a religious identity

Likewise, the overwhelming majority of teenagers (86 percent) raised in a religiously unaffiliated household also said they held to no religion in particular.

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So while there aren’t huge discrepancies in terms of the actual religious beliefs, there are some changes in smaller, more personal ways. For example, teenagers are about half as likely as their parents to say religion is “very important” in their lives.

Interestingly, about half of all the teenagers surveyed said they have “all the same” religious beliefs of their parents. And of the teenagers who say they have different beliefs, about a third say their parents didn’t know about them.

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