By Lisa Cannon Green
Aging is a wake-up call for baby boomers, who increasingly turn to faith as they move from their 50s into their 60s, a new study shows.
More than 1 in 5 baby boomers ages 60-70 say they became more religious over the past decade, researchers found.
Long known for rejecting traditional values, many boomers in their 60s are reconsidering as they face the loss of family members and an awareness of the brevity of life, the study says.
“Religious change, when it did occur, was in a positive direction and served as a resource for dealing with health and social losses,” wrote researchers Merril Silverstein of Syracuse University and Vern L. Bengston of the University of Southern California.
“We anticipate this trend to intensify as baby boomers advance to even later stages of the life course.”
Most boomers (56 percent) said their religiosity stayed the same over the past 10 years, while 21 percent said they became more religious and 11 percent said they became less religious. Twelve percent said they were never religious.
Those who became more religious were asked why. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) said their interest in worldly things had changed. A majority (53 percent) said they were concerned about the religious development of their children or grandchildren, and nearly half (46 percent) said they had experienced a loss.
Religion “provided perspective on end-of-life concerns for several respondents, such as coming to ‘a greater understanding of the fleeting nature of this life’ and the desire to ‘meet my God on good terms,’” the authors wrote.
- More Americans Say They’re Spiritual But Not Religious
- Nones No More: Only Half of Those Raised Irreligious Stay That Way as Adults
- Pew: American Faithful Become More Devout as Others Drift Away
LISA CANNON GREEN (@lisacgreen) is senior editor of Facts & Trends.