Pew study: U.S. religious belief down, Jewish daily prayer up

Jewish prayer. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( While America has seen a decline in religious belief and behavior in the last seven years, the majority of Americans are still religious, according to the Pew Research Center’s newly released 2014 Religious Landscape Study. Thirty-five percent of religiously affiliated Jews say that religion is very important to them, a slight decline from the same survey conducted by Pew in 2007, but Jewish religious activity increased in the area of daily prayer and attendance of religious services.

A group of 35,000 Americans were surveyed to get an overview of the religious landscape of America since the last study of this kind was conducted by Pew in 2007. Americans describing themselves as religiously affiliated decreased from 83 percent to 77 percent. Across religions and levels of affiliation, the number of those who believe in God, pray daily, and attend prayer services all declined.

Jewish respondents, however, reported an increase in daily prayer from 26 percent in 2007 to 29 percent in 2014. "Weekly or more" Jewish attendance of religious services was 19 percent, up from 16 percent. Christians also showed an increase in their daily prayer, and 68 percent find religion very important in their lives compared with 66 percent in 2007.

An increased number of Jews and Christians surveyed consider themselves to be more spiritual. The overall decline in belief, according to Pew, is largely due to Millennials who are unaffiliated with religion and now make up about 23 percent of the U.S. adult population. Their beliefs tend to be more liberal, for example, in attitudes toward homosexuality and abortion, and they make up about 38 percent of all registered Democrats, showing a potential for greater influence over partisan politics.

Posted on November 4, 2015 .