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The Twentysomething SoulUnderstanding the Religious and Secular Lives of American Young Adults$
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Tim Clydesdale and Kathleen Garces-Foley

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190931353

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190931353.001.0001

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Young Adulthood and Religion

Young Adulthood and Religion

(p.20) Chapter 2 Young Adulthood and Religion
The Twentysomething Soul

Tim Clydesdale

Kathleen Garces-Foley

Oxford University Press

The story of Ted, a World War II sailor for the U.S. Navy, and his teenage bride, Dottie, opens the chapter, setting up the contrast with emerging adulthood today. Their early marriage, five children, and Ted’s living wage from work for the electric company represent an era long gone. Financial independence today requires dual incomes and years of preparation, pushing back marriage and parenthood nearly a decade. Despite these changes, the religious lives of American twentysomethings demonstrate stability more than change. Survey analysis of the project’s National Study of American Twentysomethings (2013) and the National Science Foundation’s General Social Survey (1972–2016) demonstrate a stable proportion of religious committed young adults—about 1 in 4, and a rise in religiously unaffiliated young adults —from the ranks of the semi-religious. Widespread prayer, participation in worship, favorable attitudes toward congregations, and frustration with angry “religious people” are among the chapter’s notable findings.

Keywords:   emerging adulthood, American young adults, National Study of American Twentysomethings, General Social Survey, transition to adulthood, religious statistics, changing demographics, global economic change, higher education, religiously unaffiliated (i.e. Nones)

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