Surge in Faith Among American Youth

Originally published April 27, 2023 8:37 am PDT

Recent surveys indicate a rise in the belief in a higher power or God among American young adults aged 18 to 25, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports.

According to the Springtide Research Institute’s annual report, around one-third of respondents in this age group have faith in a higher power, up from one-quarter in 2021.

The increase in belief is attributed to the challenging times faced during the pandemic, with young adults seeking solace in faith.

Many young people experienced their first major crisis during the pandemic, dealing with loss, job uncertainty, and changes to daily life.

Rev. Darryl Roberts, pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, suggests that the pandemic stripped away the sense of invincibility among young people, leading them to seek protection in a higher power.

Abigail Visco Rusert, associate dean at Princeton Theological Seminary, agrees, stating that “we are seeing an openness to transcendence among young people that we haven’t seen for some time.”

While other surveys, like Gallup, ask about belief in God specifically and show a decline among young adults, the Springtide report illustrates a broader spectrum of belief.

The Springtide survey employed the term “higher power” to encompass a range of beliefs beyond a specific religion or Christian concept.

However, this increase in belief doesn’t necessarily correlate with religious affiliation or church attendance.

A Wall Street Journal-NORC poll found that only 31% of young Americans, aged 18 to 29, consider religion very important, the lowest percentage among all adult age groups.

A Pew Research Center study revealed that only 20% of 18-to-29-year-olds attend religious services monthly or more, down from 24% in 2019, WSJ notes.