Irreligious Socialization? The Adult Religious Preferences of Individuals Raised with No Religion

Stephen M. Merino

Abstract

Recent birth cohorts of Americans are more likely than previous cohorts to be raised outside of a religious tradition. In addition, those raised with no religion are increasingly likely to have no religious preference as adults. Despite their growing numbers, individuals raised with no religion have received little attention from scholars. The adult religious preferences of these individuals provide researchers with a unique opportunity to test theories of religion and social change. Using General Social Survey data, I examine the adult religious preferences and beliefs of individuals raised with no religion. I provide evidence of a shift in socialization and social influences experienced by those who report growing up with no religion. Compared with earlier cohorts raised with no religion, more recent cohorts have had more secular upbringings and tend to be more secular, liberal, and wary of organized religion as adults. They are also more likely to have a religiously unaffiliated spouse, if they marry at all. Results from a logistic regression analysis indicate that these trends explain much of the cohort differences in the likelihood of remaining unaffiliated as an adult.

 


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How to cite: Merino, S.M. 2012. Irreligious Socialization? The Adult Religious Preferences of Individuals Raised with No Religion. Secularism and Nonreligion 1:1-16, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/snr.aa

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
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This article has been peer reviewed (journal peer review policy).

Published on 1 January 2012.

ISSN: 2053-6712 | Published by Ubiquity Press | Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.