Milennials, Gen Z less likely to embrace religion, patriotism than older Americans: poll

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The share of Americans who see the value of patriotism and religious faith has declined sharply in the past four years as younger Americans detach themselves from traditional American values long honored by older generations, according to a new poll. 

The Wall Street Journal and the University of Chicago’s NORC conducted a survey asking 1,019 adults what values they view as “very important.” The responses, collected from March 1-13, show a drop in the percentage of Americans who place a high premium on the values of patriotism, religion, having children and community involvement compared to previous surveys asking the same questions.

In 2023, 38% of Americans identified patriotism as a “very important” value. This represents a noticeable decline from the 61% who described patriotism as “very important” in 2019 and the 70% who said the same in 1998.

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The percentage of Americans who characterize religion as “very important” has nosedived throughout the same time, decreasing from 62% in 1998 to 48% in 2019 to 39% in 2023. While a majority of Americans surveyed in 1998 (59%) said having children was “very important” to them, just 43% said so in 2019. By 2023, just 30% of respondents cited having children as a “very important” value.

As Americans have placed less emphasis on patriotism, religion and having children over the past quarter-century, the share of respondents who value community involvement jumped from 47% in 1998 to 62% in 2019. However, the percentage of Americans who see community involvement as “very important” fell substantially in the past four years to 27%.

On the other hand, the share of respondents who think money is “very important” has consistently risen over the past 25 years. Forty-three percent of Americans classified money as “very important” in 2023, an increase from the 41% who listed finances as one of their most important considerations in 2019 and 30% who called money “very important” in 1998.

The results of the 2023 survey demonstrate a generation gap regarding the values viewed by respondents as “very important.” Majorities of respondents older than 65 characterized patriotism (59%) and religion (55%) as “very important,” while less than one-third (32%) had the same view about having children.

On the other hand, significantly smaller shares of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 identified patriotism (23%) and religion (31%) as “very important.” Only 23% of young Americans thought having children was “very important.”

Additionally, views toward religion, patriotism, community involvement and having children differed based on partisan identification. Majorities of Republicans said patriotism (59%) and religion (53%) were “very important” to them, while significantly smaller shares of Democrats (23%) and independents (29%) listed patriotism as a “very important” value. Similarly, small shares of Democrats (27%) and independents (38%) said the same about religion.

Less than half of Republicans (38%), Democrats (26%) and independents (20%) told pollsters that having children was “very important” to them. Thirty-two percent of Democrats cited community involvement as a “very important” value followed by lower shares of Republicans (25%) and independents (23%). Equal shares of Republicans and Democrats (45%) pointed to money as a “very important” value while 36% of independents did.

The survey also asked respondents to weigh in on the hot-button cultural issues of the day. A majority of respondents (56%) expressed support for requiring trans-identified athletes to play on sports teams that align with their biological sex, while 17% supported allowing trans-identified athletes to compete on teams designated for the opposite sex. 

Critics of allowing trans-identified athletes to compete in sports teams designated for the opposite sex assert that the biological differences between men and women give men an unfair advantage over women in athletics. USA Powerlifting cites “increased body and muscle mass, bone density, bone structure, and connective tissue” as factors that give male athletes an advantage over their female counterparts in sports.

Concerns about the fairness of allowing men to compete on women’s sports teams has prompted 19 states to pass laws requiring athletes to compete on teams that match their biological sex: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Overall, a plurality of respondents (43%) indicated that they thought society had gone too far in “accepting people who are transgender,” while a plurality of respondents (37%) believed society had not gone far enough in “accepting people who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.” Pluralities of those surveyed stated that businesses (39%) as well as schools and universities (34%) had “not gone far enough” in “taking steps to promote racial and ethnic diversity.”

Majorities of Republicans thought that society had gone too far in “accepting people who are transgender” (75%) and “accepting people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual” (52%). Fifty-five percent of Republicans thought schools had gone too far in promoting “racial and ethnic diversity” while 52% said the same about businesses.

When asked how they felt about “people identifying their pronouns, such as ‘he/him, she/her, or they/them,’ in email, social media communication, or conversations,” a plurality of those surveyed said they viewed the focus on pronouns as neither favorable nor unfavorable (37%), followed by 27% who had a “very unfavorable” view of people announcing their pronouns in written communication, 16% who viewed the phenomenon as “somewhat favorable,” 12% who described it as “very favorable” and 8% who characterized it as “somewhat favorable.”

Thirty-five percent of respondents had a “very unfavorable” view of “being asked to use gender-neutral pronouns, such as ‘they/them,’ when addressing another person,” followed by 32% who had a neutral opinion on the matter and 15% who had a “somewhat unfavorable” opinion about requests to use gender-neutral pronouns. The remaining respondents saw requests to use gender-neutral pronouns as “very favorable” (11%) or “somewhat favorable” (7%).

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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