Millennials, Religion, and Spirituality - Their Story In 5 Stats

Young consumers’ relationship with religion isn’t as simple as you might think. We surveyed 18-34-year-olds to find out how important religion is, and what they believe right now…

A quick scan of headlines about Millennials and religion might have you thinking that the generation has rejected it, en masse. In the last months alone, there’s been:  “Millennials turning away from faith,” “Why Millennial Women Are Embracing Atheism,” “Ten reasons Millennials are backing away from God and Christianity,” “And Then There Were Nones: How Millennials' Flight From Religion Is Transforming American Politics,” and even, “Witchcraft is the perfect religion for liberal Millennials.” But the idea that Millennials are “turning their backs” on religion is likely an oversimplification of their beliefs.

To get a more clear understanding of the generation’s relationship with religion and spirituality, our recent survey asked them everything from their thoughts on religion versus spirituality to whether they believe in God, what role religion plays in their daily lives, and more. From that research, we know that Millennials’ view of religion is hardly cut and dry, and though they may be less traditionally religious than previous generations, there is plenty they still believe in. Here’s a snapshot of Millennials, religion, and spirituality, in five stats:

1. 44% say that religion is important to them, 37% say it is not

The number of Millennials who say that religion is important to them outpaces the number who say it is not—by a small margin. But there is a larger story at work here as well. According to a Pew study, all Americans are moving away from religion. The percentage of adults who consider religion “very important” to them and pray daily declined 3% to 4% from 2007 to 2015. But “skepticism…

 
 

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“I observe holidays and religion-based traditions but am more connected to it as a culture than as a religion.”—Female, 27, MA

Chinese youth have a “selfie obsession” that’s changing beauty standards and creating a new tier of celebrity. The Influencer Effect is full blown in China, where young consumers are beautifying their selfies via filter apps like Meitu and plastic surgery—all in the quest to look more like wang hong, their internet celebrities. One influencer, HoneyCC, argues that “Selfies are part of Chinese culture now, and so is Meitu-editing selfies.” But some say the trend is pushing the population to become more homogenous by favoring certain features, and headlines have lashed back against the whitening of skin prevalent in social apps. (The New Yorker)

Eighty-one percent of Bustle, Romper, and Elite Daily’s Millennial readers say social media is the best way for advertisers to reach them. Bustle’s latest questionnaire also found that 40% of their 18-34-year-old readers prefer Instagram for brand communications, followed by trusted websites, email, and online articles. Some other fun insights: Over half believe that a company should give back, instead of just turning a profit, and 49% think “companies should do more to protect the environment.” (Adweek)

Drug use is down among teens—except when it comes to marijuana and vaping. From the 1990s to 2017, the percentage of teens who said they’d been drunk dropped from 46% and 58%, and those reporting they’ve smoked cigarettes from 26% and 17%. However, marijuana use increased for the first time in seven years in 2017, while vaping is up as well, with at least 19% of high school seniors, 16% of sophomores, and 8% of eighth-graders saying they’ve vaped in the past year. (LATimes)

Two modern dating shows are coming to Facebook Watch. The first “unscripted dating show” from SoulPancake, Love & Longitude, is shot on iPhones and shows two potential love interests’ relationship blossoming across FaceTime, social media, and other digital interactions. The second dating show from Machinima, Co-Op Connection, plays into the esports craze. One bachelor gets to pick his partner based on their personality—and their skills at the videogame, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. (tubefiltertubefilter)

Some cities are past their “peak Millennial” populations, as the generation increasingly finds new digs in the suburbs. Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles all reached their highest Millennial population in 2015, and New York and Washington D.C. are showing slowing Millennial growth, according to U.S. Census data. Meanwhile Chicago’s suburbs and others have seen an uptick in their young adult populations—another Millennial myth debunked. Which urban centers are still attracting the demo as they age up? “Tech hubs” like Seattle and San Francisco. (Time)

“Crochet and knitting are very relaxing, therapeutic, and have tangible results."—Female, 31, AL

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