American Families and Religion

The American Family Survey 2018

The American Family Survey has been released for 2018 and has shed new light on many aspects of American life . Things such as attitudes towards marriage and politics are intermingled with the changing conceptualization of religion, something that has been rapidly transforming in recent years. The first major finding was from this survey was Americans have changed the way they identify themselves. Primarily, people are more inclined to consider themselves parents and a spouse before any other identifier including religion. However, that is not the only sign of religion waning in everyday influence.

According to the report, only 43 percent of people thought their religious identity was an extremely important part of who they are as a person. This is overall more important than race and political party, with the exception of black individuals, who had 45 percent of the respondents say their racial identity was extremely important compared with 9 percent and 16 percent for white and Hispanic families, respectively.

For those who did identify religion as an extremely important aspect of their life, it was clear Roman Catholics and Protestants were almost equally likely to say their religion was extremely important to them. That shows the two major forms of Christianity, the most common religion in the nation, both consider their religion as a major part of their identity rather than one sect over another.

Another interesting result from this study is the way religious people who identified religion as having an important part in their life view the order of life’s stages. The study asked people to rank relationship milestones such as sex, cohabitation, marriage, and children in their preferred order of events. The results for religious individuals showed they thought marriage should be the very first thing that happens in their relationship even before cohabiting and definitely before sex.

However, the actual results from the survey demonstrated this was often not the case of what actually happened. In fact, in most cases, people began to have sex before any of the other steps in their marriage and often cohabited before they got married. This was even seen in the cases of people who believe they are very religious compared with the average person.

The final takeaway significant to religion was that 40 percent of people think religious community is key to a fulfilling life. This is similar to the numbers from last year and shows those who are believers still think of religion as having a strong and positive impact on their lives.

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