The Age Gap

THE AGE GAP….Pew’s global surveys always have plenty of interesting tidbits in them, and browsing around in the survey I linked to yesterday will reward you with plenty of worthwhile nuggets. One of them is on the right.

There’s nothing all that surprising about these results, but they confirm on a broad scale that the struggle for gay rights is essentially inevitable. In every country in the Americas and Europe (though not Africa and Asia), those under 40 were substantially more tolerant of gays than those over 40. The United States, to our shame, is near the back of the pack, but even here there’s a difference of five points between the generations. Every year, as a younger cohort replaces an older one, that number probably shifts by another couple of points. That’s good news, and I’m posting it just because I feel like posting good news once in a while.

The other half of the chart is a little more intriguing, solely by virtue of its novelty. I’ve never seen a poll that asked quite that question (“Do you have to believe in God in order to be moral?”) across such a wide audience. Again, it’s not all the surprising to see that younger cohorts are less invested in God as the sole source of morality than older cohorts are, but still interesting to see how widespread it is.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation