Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, Christianity Today. American Protestants are keeping their children in the faith at a higher rate than Catholics or the unaffiliated, according to the latest study from the Pew Research Center.
Four out of five children raised by two Protestant parents remained Protestant into adulthood. For those raised in Protestant homes where religion was very important or often discussed, the retention rate jumps even higher (85% and 89%, respectively).
For those raised by a single parent who was Protestant, the retention rate doesn’t dip much. Three-quarters of American adults who had a Protestant single parent still identify as Protestant.
Those raised by two Catholic or unaffiliated parents, on the other hand, were equally less likely (62%) to remain in their parents’ religion—or lack thereof.
Protestantism is also gaining a larger percentage of adherents from Catholicism or the ranks of the unaffiliated than its losing to both groups. (However, given US Protestantism’s larger base—about 45 percent of American adults—losing a smaller percent still means losing a larger number of members.)
Among Americans with an exclusively Catholic background, 16 percent are now Protestant. Meanwhile, just 3 percent of those raised in an exclusively Protestant home have switched to Catholicism.
And while about 14 percent of Americans raised by Protestant parents are now unaffiliated, that’s only half the number of people raised by unaffiliated parents who are now Protestants (28%).
Those raised in a home with one Protestant and one unaffiliated parent are more likely to grow up to identify as Protestant (56%) than unaffiliated (34%). However, only a quarter have stuck with their Protestant parent’s particular denomination.