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LGBT Americans Less Likely to Be Religious

2 minute read

Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Americans are far less likely to identify as religious than non-LGBT people in the U.S., according to new Gallup poll.

Only 24% of LGBT Americans identify as “highly religious” — meaning that religion is an important part of daily life and services are attended weekly or almost weekly — compared with 41% of non-LGBT Americans. For LGBT Americans, 47% identify as nonreligious, while only 30% of non-LGBT Americans do.

One common explanation behind the disparity is that LGBT Americans may feel less welcome to participate in religious congregations or organizations, although religious groups have become more accepting in recent years. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, same-sex marriage was opposed by most religious groups as recently ago as 2003. Today, a majority of Jewish Americans, white mainline Protestants, and white and Hispanic Catholics support marriage equality.

Other explanations are demographic: LGBT Americans may be more likely to live in cities, where religious participation is less frequent. The population of self-identified LGBT Americans also skews younger, and young people are the least likely to be religious in the country. The poll, however, notes that age structure alone doesn’t explain it all — young LGBT Americans are still less religious than non-LGBT Americans within the same age bracket.

Other findings include:

  • While 83% of non-LGBT Americans identify with a particular religion, only 67% of LGBT adults do.
  • While 66% of non-LGBT Americans say religion is important in their daily lives, only half of LGBT Americans feel the same way.
  • More than half of the non-LGBT population in the country is Protestant, but only 35% of LGBT adults identify as the same.
  • 42% of non-LGBT Americans attend services regularly, while roughly a quarter of LGBT Americans do.
  • The data was collected during 104,000 interviews conducted between January and July of this year. A total of 3,242 adults interviewed identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

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    Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan.feeney@time.com