By Aaron Earls
When looking at their country, many American young people say the nation is divided, but they don’t believe religion is the primary reason.
A Public Religion Research Institute poll asked 15- to 24-year-olds in the United States if certain factors were dividing Americans. Fewer young people felt the country was divided over religion than any of the other three factors listed—politics, race, or money.
Only 38 percent say Americans are very divided by religion, 45 percent say we are somewhat divided over religion, and 17 percent say we are not that divided or not divided at all because of religion.
By contrast, 97 percent of young Americans believe our nation is at least somewhat divided over politics, with more than three-quarters saying we are very divided over politics.
A large number of 15- to 24-year-olds also believe the nation is divided over wealth and income, as well as race.
Ninety-three percent say we are at least somewhat divided over financial status, with 57 percent saying we are very divided over that.
Nine in 10 believe race is a clear dividing issue, with almost half (48 percent) saying America is very divided over race.
Different ethnic groups substantially disagree about whether the United States is divided by race and class.
Nearly three-quarters of black young Americans (73 percent) believe the nation is very divided over race. Much fewer Hispanic (45 percent) and white young people (43 percent) say the same.
Black young people are also more likely to say America is very divided over wealth and income (68 percent). Most Hispanic young people share that opinion (63 percent), compared to barely half of whites (51 percent).
Young black Protestants are also the most likely to say the nation is divided over religion. A majority (54 percent) believe we are very divided by religion, compared to 44 percent of white evangelicals, 40 percent of the religiously unaffiliated, 29 percent of mainline Protestants, and 28 percent of young Catholics.
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AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.