Pew Finds Christians, Jews Rated Higher by Senior
Citizens Than by Younger People
New Pew survey looks at how U.S. citizens feel
about religious groups, atheists
July 21, 2014 – Senior citizens – citizens age 65
or older – are more likely than younger Americans to view Christian
groups and Jews favorably, according to a new survey by Pew Research
Center. The survey also found Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians
are viewed warmly by the American public - atheists and Muslims, not so
Other non-Christian groups receive their highest
ratings from Americans younger than age 65.
Adults under the age of 30, for instance, give
Muslims a neutral rating of 49, on average, whereas older adults give
Muslims significantly more negative ratings (42 among those ages 30-49,
36 on average among those 50-64, and 32 among those 65 and older).
These patterns may partly reflect that there are
more Christians among older Americans than among younger people. In Pew
Research surveys conducted this year, fully 85% of Americans ages 65 and
older describe themselves as Christians, compared with just 59% among
adults under 30 (32% of whom identify as religious “nones”).
Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians are
viewed warmly by the American public of all ages. When asked to rate
each group on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100 – where 0
reflects the coldest, most negative possible rating and 100 the warmest,
most positive rating – all three groups receive an average rating of 60
or higher (63 for Jews, 62 for Catholics and 61 for evangelical
Christians). And 44% of the public rates all three groups in the warmest
part of the scale (67 or higher).
Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons receive neutral
ratings on average, ranging from 48 for Mormons to 53 for Buddhists. The
public views atheists and Muslims more coldly; atheists receive an
average rating of 41, and Muslims an average rating of 40. Fully 41% of
the public rates Muslims in the coldest part of the thermometer (33 or
below), and 40% rate atheists in the coldest part.
These are some of the key findings from a Pew
Research Center survey conducted May 30-June 30, 2014, among 3,217
adults who are part of Pew Research’s
new American Trends Panel, a nationally representative panel of
randomly selected U.S. adults.1