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Boomers Becoming More Religious

Long-term aging study finds about 1 in 5 report increased spiritual activity in recent years

mature adults sing in a church

Robert Nicholas/Getty Images

In recent years, about 1 in 5 boomers report that they have “become more engaged in religion."

Organized religion is drawing in more boomers as they find themselves with more time on their hands, according to a long-term research study at the University of Southern California (USC) that tracks boomer habits.

In recent years, about 1 in 5 members of the boomer generation report that they have “become more engaged in religion and more involved in religious activities as they approach the end of life,” Vern Bengtson, who developed USC’s Longitudinal Study of Generations in 1970, stated in a school press release.

In assessing the reasons for the increased religious activity, researchers found that the amount of time available for new retirees was the first reason listed, followed by issues such as the “growing sense of impermanence that comes with age” and health crises that alert them to the fragility of life.

While women traditionally have tended to be more religiously observant, researchers found that among boomers, men and women were about equally distributed in terms of increased interest in religion as they’ve become older.

In the most recent Pew survey on religion in the United States, 83 percent of adults identified with one of the traditional organized religions, with 2 percent saying they were atheists and 2 percent agnostic. An additional 12 percent reported “nothing in particular” when asked about religious identity.