The preservation of faith is often revered as a key, fundamental element in the lives of many. As a whole, an implemented belief system is intended to foster spiritual guidance whilst providing a strong sense of community for the the bevy of religions that are routinely observed. Most Americans consider themselves people of faith, but these spiritual beliefs span various, religious spectrums. The following figures were gathered from a 2012 Pew Research poll, demonstrating the various religious factors of the US population:
Roles of Religion
76% of Americans say prayer is an important role in their lives, and 8 out of 10 Americans say they have never doubted the existence of God. 78.4% of Americans identify themselves as Christian. This is where the lines divide, as 51.3% of Christians are of the Protestant faith, whereas Catholics account for 23.9%.
16.1% of Americans identify themselves as “unaffiliated.” The largest share of unaffiliated Americans who are declared as “nothing in particular,” account for 12.1%. 25% of Americans, ages 18-29, are identified as unaffiliated. Furthermore, 1 in 5 men say they have no religious affiliation. Men are more likely than women not to identify with a religion. Only about 13% of surveyed women say they were unaffiliated.
4.7% of Americans identify with another religion. These faiths include: Judaism (4.7 %); Buddhism (0.7%); Muslims (0.6%); and Hinduism (0.4%).
28% of American adults have left the faith they were raised in for another faith or for none at all. That number increases to 44% upon considering the change from one Protestant affiliation to another.
Children and Religion
A study of 2,604 US children, between the ages of 6-19 found positive correlations between physical and psychological health and religious affiliation and/or church attendance. 22% of Americans claim that religion is important, and 35% of Americans attend church.
Furthermore, the study demonstrated that children between the ages of 6-19 who attend religious services are at lower risks of suicide/suicide attempt, alcohol/drug use and dangerous sexual behaviors.
According to a 2012 Live Science study, children of parents who regularly attended religious services were likely to demonstrate better self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than non-religious children.
Furthermore, a 2011 psychological assessment analyzed the effects of religion upon the development of young children. The results indicated that children raised with religious parents are likely to be better behaved and adjusted than other (non-religious) children.
83% of all Christians make their commitment to Jesus between the ages of 4-14, according to a survey by International Bible Society.
A 2012 Barna Research Group survey suggested that American children ages 5-13 have a 32% probability of accepting Christ. Contrastingly, teens aged 14-18 have only a 4% probability of doing so. Adults age 19+ have just a 6% probability of becoming Christians.
Comparisons in Religious vs. Non-Religious Children
>> The following figures have been gathered from a 2010 Religion and Child Health Study <<
-85% of religiously-affiliated children maintain good overall health vs. 79% of non-affiliated children.
-79% of religious children are deemed psychologically-healthy vs. 73% of non religious children.
-85% of children who attend church at least weekly maintain good standing health vs. 83% of non-affiliated children.
Top 3 Perceived Benefits of Religion
John Bartkowski, a Mississippi State University sociologist and his colleagues conducted a recent study, analyzing the relationship between religion and home life. The following are three suggested benefits when introducing religion into the home:
1. Social Support
Religious networks provide social support to parents, which can improve their parenting skills. Children who are brought into such networks and hear parental messages reinforced by other adults may also “take more to heart the messages that they get in the home,” he said.
2. Good Values
The values and norms introduced in religious congregations tend to be self-sacrificing and pro-family, which “could be very, very important in shaping how parents relate to their kids, and then how children develop in response,” according to Bartkowski.
3. Sacred Significance
According to the study, religious influences emphasize the more substantial, rather than material, aspects of life. Children are able to direct their focus upon selfless acts, rather than selfish intentions.
As the following infographic suggests, religion plays a significant role in many American households. Belief systems often encourage a set of values, traditions and positive reinforcement amongst children.