The new Economic Values Survey carried out by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institute has surveyed the American religious landscape according to a new set of criteria and found a significant number of religious progressives, particularly within younger generations, suggesting an increase over time:
“Our new research shows a complex religious landscape, with religious conservatives holding an advantage over religious progressives in terms of size and homogeneity,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute. “However, the percentage of religious conservatives shrinks in each successive generation, with religious progressives outnumbering religious conservatives in the Millennial generation.”
Religious progressives are significantly younger and more diverse than their conservative counterparts. The mean age of the religious progressive population is 44 – just under the mean age in the general population of 47 – while the mean age of religious conservatives is 53. Twenty-three percent of Millennials (ages 18-33) are religious progressives, while 17 percent are religious conservatives. Among Millennials, there are also nearly as many nonreligious (22 percent) as religious progressives. Conversely, 12 percent of the Silent Generation (ages 66-88) are religious progressives, while 47 percent are religious conservatives. One-in-ten (10 percent) of the Silent Generation are nonreligious.
More on religious progressives from this study can be found here, a summary of the survey’s economic findings can be found here, and information about the larger survey methodology and data can be found here.