Less than half of U.S. adults say that religion is very important to them, according to an AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research report published Dec. 14.
Among all respondents, 26% said religion is extremely important in their lives, 19% said very important and 23% said somewhat important, while 15% said it was not very important and 17% said not important at all.
When asked about their upbringing, 24% of respondents said religion was extremely important to their family when they were growing up, 27% very important, 26% somewhat important, 13% not very important and 9% not important at all.
White evangelical Protestants (WEPs) were most likely to say religion was extremely / very important (79% did so), followed by non-white Protestants (69%), Catholics (52%), white mainline Protestants (41%) and those claiming no religious affiliation (8%).
WEPs and non-white Protestants were the only groups to have more people say religion was extremely / very important to them now than those who said this was the case in their family when they were growing up.
Respondents were also asked to describe the connection they had to five entities or groups. Among all U.S. adults, 67% feel extremely / very connected to friends and family, 53% to God or a higher power, 49% to their spirituality, 35% to the natural world and 20% to their community.
WEPs were most likely to say they’re extremely / very connected to family and friends (81%), to God or a higher power (87%) and to their spirituality (75%).
Only non-white Protestants (23%) had fewer respondents say they feel extremely / very connected to the natural world, and only the religiously unaffiliated (12%) had fewer say they feel extremely / very connected to their community than WEPs (31% and 19%, respectively).
WEPs were the most likely group to attend church at least weekly (41%), to pray (85%) and to read their spiritual text (62%).
Catholics were the second most likely group to attend church weekly (41%), while non-white Protestants were the second most likely to pray (57%) and to read their spiritual text (40%).