A Third of Millennials Have No Religious Affiliation… and Other Highlights from PRRI’s Latest Survey

A new study on Millennials and their attitudes toward issues related to sexuality and reproductive health was just released by the Public Religion Research Institute.

What does it say about the “Nones,” those of us who want no part of organized religion?

1) We represent the largest subgroup of Millennials; a third of adults 18-34 have no religious affiliation.

PRRI says “Unaffiliated” is “the single most common religious identity among this generation.” There may be more Christians overall, but only when you lump together very different denominations.

2) We overwhelmingly oppose requiring a prescription to obtain emergency contraception like the Morning-After Pill. Only a quarter of the Nones support the extra, unnecessary hurdle.

3) We believe abortion should be legal in almost all circumstances. However, 21% of the Unaffiliated opposed the procedure — hardly a fringe group.

4) We’re sensible on the issue of sex education:

Eight in ten (80%) religiously unaffiliated millennials and more than seven in ten white mainline Protestant (76%), white Catholic (72%), and Hispanic Catholic millennials (74%) say an emphasis on safe sexual practices and contraception is a better way to prevent unintended pregnancy than an emphasis on abstinence.

5) A lot of us never had proper sex education in school…

Roughly one in five Hispanic Catholic (28%), black Protestant (26%), Hispanic Protestant (23%), white Catholic (20%), and religiously unaffiliated millennials (21%) also say they did not have a sex education class in middle or high school. Only 10% of white mainline Protestant millennials say they did not have a sex education class in school.

6) Most of us think the Supreme Court was wrong about the Hobby Lobby case:

While at least six in ten white mainline Protestant (63%), black Protestant (61%), white Catholic (60%), Hispanic Catholic (68%), Hispanic Protestant (67%), and religiously unaffiliated millennials (72%) say privately owned corporations should have to provide employees with health insurance that covers contraception, only 38% of white evangelical Protestant millennials say the same.

Now, obviously, “Unaffiliated” isn’t synonymous with “atheist.” The bulk of the Nones are people who believe in a Higher Power (and even the divinity of Jesus) but who shy away from religious labels for whatever reason. I suspect if you polled atheists separately on all these issues, the results would be even more skewed.

The full survey is here.

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