Do children with no religion remain that way as adults, or do they eventually join up with some religion?
Out of those who had no religion at age 16, I calculated the percent who still had no religion in their 20s, 30s, 40s, etc. I also computed the percent who had switched to Protestantism--by far the most popular choice.
Percent of all those with no religion at 16
Stayed unaffiliated 67.6
Switched to Protestant 22.1
Stayed unaffiliated 54.4
Switched to Protestant 33.5
Stayed unaffiliated 48.4
Switched to Protestant 37.1
Stayed unaffiliated 37.8
Switched to Protestant 44.6
Stayed unaffiliated 36.7
Switched to Protestant 52.3
Stayed unaffiliated 30.9
Switched to Protestant 58.3
Stayed unaffiliated 26.2
Switched to Protestant 59.5
While two-thirds still had no affiliation in their 20s, by the end of their lives all but 26 percent had switched, and 60 percent of the total had joined some Protestant denomination.
(In order to maximize sample size, all survey years since 1973 were used, so age groups are from multiple cohorts.)
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