Like Parent, Like Millennial: Inherited and Switched (Non)Religion among Young Adults in the U.S. and Canada

In: Journal of Religion and Demography
Sarah Wilkins-Laflamme Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Legal Studies, University of Waterloo Waterloo, ON Canada

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Using novel quantitative data from the Millennial Trends Survey administered online in March 2019 with over 2,500 respondents between the ages of 18 and 35 in both Canada and the U.S., we examine in detail inherited (non)religion as well as intergenerational conversion and disaffiliation among young adult birth cohorts. Key results include approximately two thirds of Millennials in our sample belonging to the same (non)religious tradition of at least one of their parents. Among the remaining one third who did have a different religious (non)affiliation than their parents at the time of the survey, intergenerational disaffiliation was the most common change present: especially in Canada, but also in the U.S. Intergenerational retention of nonreligion among families where both parents are nonreligious are especially high among Millennials in both countries, a characteristic of this generation’s much more secular social milieu.

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