ANALYSIS: Why young women are leaving religion in record numbers

A study shows that 54% of Gen Z women have disaffiliated from religion, according to Survey Center on American Life. This trend coincides with young women reportedly becoming more liberal and progressive.

For the first time in decades, young women are leaving religion at higher rates than men. 

A study shows that 54% of Gen Z women have disaffiliated from religion, according to the Survey Center on American Life. 

This trend coincides with young women reportedly becoming more liberal and progressive.  

In fact, 54% percent of young women are pro-choice, according to a 2022 General Social Survey, and 31% of Gen Z women identify as LGBTQ compared with 15% of Gen Z men. 

This increased acceptance of progressive values is at odds with the traditional beliefs and teachings of many religions, which may be discouraging young women from affiliating with religion.

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Another factor is the rise of feminism among Gen Z women. 

A whopping 61% of young women identify as feminists, surpassing the percentage of women from previous generations. 

The modern feminist movement emphasizes career-oriented independence over domestic life, suggesting that a woman’s career will lead to greater fulfillment than being a mother or a wife

This modern feminist idea contrasts greatly with the traditional gender roles of wifehood and motherhood which are core values of many religions.  The acceptance of modern feminist ideas may explain why so many Gen Z women are rejecting religious affiliation. 

Analyzing the trend of young women leaving religion, it is important to consider the mental health implications.

Data shows that Gen Z is the loneliest generation and is facing a mental health crisis. Gen Z women in particular report poor mental health, with only 26% describing their mental health as excellent or very good, compared with 43% for Gen Z men. 

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This is a concerning trend, especially given the link between religious affiliation and mental health. 

Studies have shown that people without a religious affiliation may experience higher rates of depression due to the lack of “social support from a faith community or a lack of commitment to a belief system that makes sense of traumatic events and difficult life stressors,” according to the National Library of Medicine

Ultimately, the trend of young women leaving religion in unprecedented numbers should not be overlooked, as it is a result of liberal and feminist ideologies and poses devastating mental health implications. 

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Editorials and op-eds reflect the opinion of the authors and not necessarily that of Campus Reform or the Leadership Institute.