Survey: Teenage Mission Service Related to Mother's Education

A recent survey of over 3,000 American teenagers found that youth involvement in religious mission projects correlated with the level of education of the youths’ mother.

The random telephone survey, conducted by the National Study of Youth and Religion, found that nearly three in ten U.S. teens have gone to at least one religious mission or participated in a religious service project. Additionally, some 29 percent said they participated in an organized religious service project or mission.
The survey also found that 43 percent of youth attend church once a week or more while 25 percent said they attend once or twice a month. Only 9 percent of teens who said they participated in religious service projects “never” attend church.

While the survey found no relation between the fathers’ level of education and the youths’ involvement in ministry, it found an odd correlation between the mothers’ level of education and teens’ participation in service projects.

According to the results, only one-fifth of teens whose mother have less than a high school education said they participated in Service projects, while 37 percent of the children of women with master’s degrees said they were involved. However, only 13 percent of the teens whose mothers have doctorates or professional degrees said they participated in religious projects.

“In terms of the effect of religion on service, education can boost the effect up to a point, and then among your most highly educated you tend to have less investment in religion,” said Melinda Denton, project manager for the study. “There’s some relationship between increased religion and decreased religiosity at those higher levels of education.”