A recent poll reveals that teenagers raised in evangelical churches are "far more likely" to carry on the religious identity of their parents than those who attend mainline Protestant churches with their parents.
The recently released Pew Research Center survey polled more than 1,800 American teens (ages 13-17) and found that 80% of them who are raised by evangelical parents keep the religious identity of their parents. In contrast, just 55% of teens whose parents attend mainline Protestant churches reflect their parents' religious views.
The same survey indicates that an almost identical percentage of Catholic teens (81%) remain more faithful to their parents' religious beliefs than those from mainline Protestant homes that attend the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church or United Methodist Church.
When it comes to practicing their faith, evangelical teens stand far apart from their mainline Protestant and Catholic peers, as Pew found they are "far more likely" to maintain their commitment to live out their beliefs. Pew asked evangelical teens if their Christian faith is very important in their lives – and nearly half (48%) answered in the affirmative, which is almost double the rate of mainline Protestant teens (25%) and Catholic teens (27%).
In a similar trend, evangelical teens are half as likely to declare themselves as "unaffiliated with religion" than teens who grew up in mainline Protestant homes (12% vs. 24%), while those being raised Catholic registered in at 15%.
More distinctions between the three groups were found in the Pew survey results – tallied from teen interviews conducted in March and April of last year – as an overwhelming majority of evangelical teens (71%) said they believe in God with "absolute certainty" … substantially more than mainline Protestant teens (49%) and Catholic teens (45%).
Additionally, more than half of evangelical teens (51%) profess to praying daily – a practice considerably less common among their mainline peers (25%) and Catholic counterparts (26%).
"Evangelical Protestant teens also stand out from the other groups analyzed in this survey on how they engage in religious practices with their family," Pew researchers explain. "Eight in 10 or more report that they often or sometimes say grace before meals with their family and talk with their family about religion."
The survey also reveals that almost two-thirds of evangelical teens (64%) attend church on a regular basis, while less than half of the teens (40%) raised by "mainline denomination parents" go to church regularly – the same percentage as Catholic teens.