About Half of Americans Consider Christmas More Religious Than Cultural, Says Pew Study

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    Photo: Guillaume Piolle/Wikimedia Commons
By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter
December 19, 2013|11:54 am

A recently released study conducted by Pew Research has found that among surveyed Americans, only about half consider Christmas to be an inherently religious holiday.

In results reported Wednesday, Pew's Religion & Public Life Project found that 51 percent of Americans viewed Christmas as more of a religious holiday than cultural.

Thirty-two percent of respondents considered Christmas more cultural than religious, with 9 percent giving other answers and 7 percent saying they do not celebrate Christmas.

"Eight-in-10 white evangelical Protestants (82 percent) see Christmas as a religious holiday. Smaller majorities of white Catholics (66 percent), black Protestants (60 percent) and white mainline Protestants (56 percent) see Christmas as more of a religious than a cultural holiday, as do about half of Hispanic Catholics (51 percent)," reads the analysis in part.

"Among the religiously unaffiliated, two-thirds celebrate Christmas as more of a cultural than a religious holiday."

The sample space for the survey was 2,001 adults interviewed over the phone from Tuesday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 8.

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Other findings of the Pew study included 33 percent of respondents saying they liked the commercialism of the holiday the least, 69 percent saying they most looked forward to meeting with friends and family, and women (58 percent) being more likely than men (50 percent) to plan to attend religious services.

"Slightly more than half of the public (54 percent) says they plan to attend religious services on Christmas Eve or Christmas day this year. By comparison, about one-third of the public (36 percent), says that they attend religious services in a typical week," reads the analysis in part.

"Three-quarters (73%) of people who say Christmas is more of a religious holiday plan to attend religious services either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Far fewer people who say they see Christmas as more of a cultural holiday or who do not celebrate Christmas at all say they will be in the pews this Christmas (30% and 24%, respectively)."

Pew's results on the percentage of Americans who consider Christmas to be more of a religious than cultural holiday contrasts with that of a recent survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute released Tuesday.

The PRRI survey, conducted Dec.4 through Dec. 12, with a sample space of 1,056 people, asked similar questions regarding perceptions of and activities relating to Christmas.

"Among Americans celebrating Christmas this year, most will celebrate it as a strongly religious (42 percent) or somewhat religious (31 percent) holiday. But more than one-quarter (26 percent) of Americans celebrating Christmas this year will do so largely as a non-religious holiday," reads their results.

PRRI's survey also found that 59 percent of respondents plan to attend religious services on Christmas Eve or Christmas day.

 

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