Is the United States a counterexample to the secularization thesis?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Virtually every discussion of secularization asserts that high levels of religiosity in the United States make it a decisive counterexample to the claim that modern societies are prone to secularization. Focusing on trends rather than levels, the authors maintain that, for two straightforward empirical reasons, the United States should no longer be considered a counterexample. First, it has recently become clear that American religiosity has been declining for decades. Second, this decline has been produced by the generational patterns underlying religious decline elsewhere in the West: each successive cohort is less religious than the preceding one. America is not an exception. These findings change the theoretical import of the United States for debates about secularization.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Voas, D; Chaves, M

Published Date

  • March 1, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 121 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 1517 - 1556

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-9602

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1086/684202

Citation Source

  • Scopus