A survey in the U.K. found that 51 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds said they pray at least once a month, while only 24 percent of those 55 and older said the same.
The associate director of the polling company that conducted the survey, Savanta ComRes, suggested that the finding could be partially attributed to the proliferation of virtual prayers and religious services during the pandemic.
Ten percent of British adults reported in January that their faith is stronger as a result of the pandemic, according to the Pew Research Center. Growth in faith during the pandemic was even more pronounced in the U.S. Twenty-eight percent of Americans reported stronger personal faith because of the pandemic.
Savanta ComRes’ finding contradicts other polls which have shown a trend of young people moving away from religion in Western countries at a greater rate than older people.
A 2014 Pew survey showed that 65 percent of Americans ages 18-29 pray at least once a month, while the same was true for 82 percent of people over age 50. Much of this difference was due to an increase in young people who identify with no faith, but part of the decrease was also due to less fervent adherence among people who belong to a particular religious sect.
Only 43 percent of American Catholics ages 18 to 29 said they pray every day, while 72 percent of Catholics who are over age 65 said the same. Among evangelical Protestants and historically black Protestants, the difference was less stark. Seventy-three percent of evangelical Protestant ages 18 to 29 said they pray daily, while 81 percent of those over age 65 said the same. Among historically black Protestants, 70 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 said they pray every day compared to 85 percent for historically black Protestants over age 65.
It is hard to know if the trends indicated in the U.K. poll carry over to the U.S., as the U.K. is much more secular than the U.S.
The U.S. is an outlier in the West when it comes to religion. According to the 2014 Pew study, 55 percent of Americans pray every day. This contradicts the trend demonstrated in much of the rest of the world that a higher per-capita GDP is inversely proportional to adherence to religion. Just 6 percent of U.K. adults say they pray daily.
In the U.S., young people are not as secular as they are made out to be. In fact, young Americans are more religious than most other Western countries as a whole. Forty-one percent of 18-29 year olds in the United States say they pray daily, compared to 25 percent of Canadian adults, 18 percent of Australian adults, and 6 percent of British adults.
This means religious adherence among young adults in the United States is actually comparable to the level of religiosity in Mexico and Chile among all adults.
Religious adherence in the U.S. is highly correlated to family practices. Eight-eight percent of U.S. parents who regularly attend religious services say their teen attends services as often as them.