However, an increasing minority (30 percent) also believe that faith is “largely old fashioned and out of date,” representing a 10-point increase in non-believers over the past two decades.
The results were in keeping with a long-term decline in religiosity since the 1950s, when 82 percent of Americans thought that faith was useful to address modern moral dilemmas.
The poll results from May’s “Values and Beliefs” survey show a slight increase of support for religious belief from 2010, when 53 percent affirmed its importance.
The relevance of religion was also correlated with certain political views: 72 percent of U.S. conservatives agreed that religion is important, compared to 58 percent of moderates and 36 percent of liberals.
Other poll findings divided respondents by church attendance, age, and gender:
- 84 percent of weekly churchgoers affirmed religion’s significance, compared to 36 percent who attend services less than once a month;
- 67 percent who believe that religion is outdated identified with no particular faith;
- More women than men believe that religion is important (62 percent versus 52 percent); and
- Older Americans over the age of 65 (62 percent) had more faith than those between the ages of 18 and 29 (48 percent).
Friday’s survey also found that religion had varying significance in different regions of the United States:
- The majority of Southerners (68 percent) think that religion is important, followed by 56 percent from the Midwest;
- Americans from the West Coast closely reflected the national average, with 51 percent of believers compared to 37 percent of non-believers’;
- Residents of the East Coast were least likely to believe that religion was relevant (41 percent)