Across education lines, US Christians share common religiosity

Church pews Credit Goran Bogicevic Shutterstock CNA Goran Bogicevic/Shutterstock.

College educated Christians are more likely to be churchgoers than their less educated counterparts, and seem to show about the same level of religious commitment as other American Christians, a survey says.

"The tendency for Christian college graduates to exhibit rates of religious observance that are at least on par with their less highly educated counterparts is evident across a variety of Christian traditions," the Pew Research Center said April 26.

College graduates, non-grads report attending religious services at similar rates

Christians who are college graduates are more likely to attend religious services weekly, with 52 percent saying they do so. This compares to 45 percent of Christians with some college education, and 46 percent with a high school education or less.

Pew's survey also created a scale of religious commitment incorporating measurement of practices like reported religious service attendance, reported daily prayer, statements that religion is very important, and belief in God with absolute certainty.

About 70 percent of Christians with college degrees show a high level of religious commitment on this scale. Their levels are about the same as Christians with some college or a high school education or less.

While Catholics show less religious observance than other Christian groups like Evangelicals, Catholics show a similar level of religiosity when compared to other Catholics by education levels. College educated Catholics have a level of religious commitment ranked at 62 percent, according to Pew's scale.

However, college graduates overall are less likely to identify with Christianity. About 64 percent said they were Christians, compared to 71 percent of those with some college and 75 percent of those with high school education or less.

About 11 percent of college graduates described themselves as atheists or agnostics, compared to 4 percent of those with a high school education or less.

At the same time, only about 24 percent of college graduates overall identified as unaffiliated in religion. College graduates were no less likely than other Americans to say they attend religious services.

Pew said the patterns largely hold if those with postgraduate degrees are examined separately from those with only bachelor's degrees.

The Pew Research Center used the results of the 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted June 4-Sept. 30, 2014.

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