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Most parents effective at passing down faith and politics

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They may not share musical or fashion tastes, but most parents and their teenage children share religious and political perspectives.

A Pew Research survey of parents and their children found around 4 in 5 teenagers share their parent's religious views. And a similar number agree with their parents' politics.

The similar rates in transmitting faith and politics come despite parents being twice as likely to say passing down their faith (35%) is at least very important compared to passing down their political beliefs (16%).

In addition, some religious groups placed a higher emphasis than others on their children carrying on their faith perspective. Among white evangelical Protestant parents, 70% said it was extremely or very important their children hold religious beliefs similar to their own. But 8% of religiously unaffiliated parents said the same.

Despite the enthusiasm gap, parents in most groups had the same success rate in passing down both their religious and political beliefs.

Among Republican parents or those who lean in that direction, more than 8 in 10 (81%) had teens who identified similarly. Almost 9 in 10 teenagers who had Democratic or Democrat-leaning parents (89%) shared those beliefs.

Within religious groups, 82% of Protestant parents, 81% of Catholic parents, and 86% of religiously unaffiliated parents have teenagers who share their religious views. Specifically among evangelical parents, 80% have teenagers who identify as evangelical, 7% as another Protestant tradition, 1% Catholic, and 12% unaffiliated.

The Pew Research report states "even though evangelical Protestants place much higher importance on passing their religion to their children than religiously unaffiliated parents do, the two groups are about equally successful at actually doing so, at least through about age 17."

Faith among young adults

A Lifeway Research study on passing down faith also found the church dropout rate among churchgoing teens rapidly increased starting at age 17. Among those who regularly attended church for at least one year as a teenager, 69% were still going at age 17. That dropped to 58% at 18 and 40% at 19. Once they reach their 20s, around 1 in 3 say they were attending regularly.

Pew Research also did a study of the religious perspectives of adults compared to their parents' views. Most of those who were raised in a single religion--either by two parents of the same faith or a single parent--kept the same faith.

Almost 4 in 5 raised Protestant were still Protestant (79%). Around 3 in 5 Catholics (62%) and religiously unaffiliated (62%) kept the religious views in which they were raised.

The results were much more mixed for interfaith households. More than half (56%) of those raised with one Protestant parent and one unaffiliated were Protestant, while 34% were unaffiliated. Those with a Catholic parent and an unaffiliated one were more split between being unaffiliated themselves (42%), embracing the Catholic faith (32%), or becoming Protestant (20%). Those raised in a household with one Protestant and one Catholic parent were most likely to be Protestant (38%), followed by Catholic (29%) and unaffiliated (26%).

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