College Professors Aren’t Killing Religion

Most young people who wind up leaving their religious commitments do so before ever stepping foot on campus. UCLA’s Freshman Survey, an annual study of first-time students at 184 U.S. colleges and universities, found that 31 percent of incoming freshmen are religiously unaffiliated, a threefold increase since 1986, when just 10 percent identified this way. Religious attendance is also falling precipitously among incoming students. The findings from the UCLA survey are consistent with another recent survey by PRRI, which found that most Americans who have left their childhood religion did so before reaching adulthood. Seventy-nine percent of young adults age 18 to 29 who have become religiously unaffiliated report having made this decision during their adolescent and teen years.

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