God and Gen Y

Spirituality is important to many people ages 18 to 25, but traditional religious institutions are losing ground, a new study says.

The survey, called “OMG! How Generation Y is Redefining Faith in the iPod Era,” was commissioned by Reboot, a network of young Jews, to assess the religious identity of young adults.

Almost half of respondents say faith is important to them, but is expressed in informal settings, the study says, while almost three in 10 either say they are “highly religious” or “avowedly secular.”

More than half the respondents say they pray before meals, almost four in 10 discuss spirituality with their friends, and one-third read religious books, magazines or newspapers, but affiliation with denominations is on the decline.

Young adults tend to be more tolerant, the study says, with fewer than one in 10 respondents saying their friends are members of the same religion, more than half supporting same-sex marriage, and more than six in 10 backing abortion rights.

The greatest concern among young adults is contracting a sexually transmitted disease, the study says.

Young Jews are the group most likely to describe themselves as secular or undecided, while African Americans are most likely to be highly religious.

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