Amidst all the attention being paid to the rise of the "nones" among Millennials, a new study suggests that 40-somethings are also disaffiliating at a surprising rate. According to yesterday's Washington Post, Gen Xers are becoming less religious (and less Republican) as they've aged. Michelle Boorstein reports:
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.
Granted, this survey has a more narrow definition of what constitutes Gen X. With these parameters, even my beloved President Obama no longer qualifies as a Gen Xer, since it was 1961 when he was born in, um, Kenya.
Survey quibbles aside, this is startling news. Traditionally in American history, generations have gotten more religious and more conservative as they age, not less.
Leave it to my delightfully crabby mini-generation to break the mold.
The image of the X is used with permission of Shutterstock.com.