By Kit from Pittsburgh, USA (Grads Absorb the News) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Kit from Pittsburgh, USA (Grads Absorb the News) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Are you less religious if you’re more educated?

Pew has found the general notion of the highly educated being less religious is actually true based on a new study they conducted. However, the research has also uncovered some complicated and conflicting facts as well. It seems, despite the relationship between education and religious adherence, this correlation is not as straight-forward as may have been otherwise thought and has its own set of complications.

The report, on the whole, does indicate Americans with a higher level of education are less likely to be religious or have belief in God. However, it also shows Americans who have college degrees are just as likely to engage in religious practices as are others. This is causing some doubts about how this issue has traditionally been approached, besides raising questions whether there may be other factors at play.

According to the research, 71 percent of American adults consider themselves to be Christians. Contrary to what is generally believed, these Christians are just as likely to be religious when they are highly educated as they would be even if they have studied only up to high school. Shockingly, it is the highly educated Christians who are more likely to attend regular church services than Christians with less education. However, it is also true that college graduates are more likely to say they are atheists than those who are not when the population as a whole is considered. This once again brings us back to the basic premise that the higher the education level, the lower the adherence to religion. 11 percent of college graduates identify themselves as non-believers whereas only 4 percent of Americans with only a high-school education say so.

The figures take a surprising turn when the respondents are asked whether they attend church services regularly. 36 percent of college graduates say they do so once a week, 34 percent with some college experience attend church once a week, and 37 percent of Americans with only high school education attend services in that frequency. The numbers are almost the same for all three groups. The situation is similar for people who attend church services once a month, once a year and so on.

Compared with others, fewer college graduates pray regularly, say religion very important in their lives

61 percent of college graduates are likely to call themselves Christians, which is a smaller number when compared to people with partial college experience and people with no college experience. This number of graduates who identify themselves as Christians are just as religious as the others who identify as Christians. They are just as observant in their practices, and in fact, may even be more strict than the other groups.

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