Religion poll: Americans losing faith

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Religion poll: Americans losing faith

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Mar 13, 2014

Marking the first anniversary of Pope Francis' first year at the Vatican, a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll exposes Americans' beliefs, or lack thereof.

According to NBC News, belief in religion as a whole has drastically dropped in recent years.

"Twenty one percent of respondents said that religion is 'not that important' to their lives, compared to 16 percent who said the same in 1999. In 1997, 14 percent of Americans said religion did not play an important role in their lives," further reports NBC News. This year's figures represent the highest percentage of non-religious participants since the poll began in 1997.

But the study also found that "more than half of Americans still place a major emphasis on their faith," according to NBC News. "Thirteen percent of respondents in the new poll said that religion is the most important aspect of their lives, and 41 percent said it is 'very important.'"

The "one in five Americans" who've voted that "religion does not play an important role in their lives" do have similar characteristics. These applicants were more likely to be male and living in the Northeast or West. They also were all under 35 years old with an income exceeding $75,000.

Among those who identified themselves as American Catholics in the poll, six in 10 believe that Pope Francis has “renewed and strengthened [their] religious faith and commitment to the Catholic Church," NBC News reports. Three in 10 disagreed.

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Julianne Cassidy

Julianne Cassidy

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A city girl gone country, Philadelphia-bred journalist Julianne Cassidy relocated to be a Nashville-based digital editor for Scripps Media, Inc.