Undoing Gender? Evidence from Religious Switching among Emerging Adults

Jennifer Glass, University of Texas at Austin
April Sutton, University of Texas at Austin

Disaffiliation from organized religion is at an all time but how gender matters for disaffiliation has been virtually unstudied. We use four waves of the Survey of Adolescent Health to address whether there has been gender convergence in patterns of religious mobility during the transition to adulthood, looking at within-person change in religious affiliation. We find ample evidence of gender convergence in the numbers and characteristics of those who disaffiliate from organized religion over time. We find little evidence that disaffiliation from religion is in itself harmful to the life chances of either young women or young men when measured as college completion. But those who disaffiliate from religion are relatively disadvantaged compared to those who remain religiously affiliated. Finally, we examine religious switching surrounding marriage and again find more gender convergence than divergence – women and men were both less likely to have switched religious identification if they married between survey waves.

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Presented in Session 48: Rethinking Gender and Family in the Transition to Adulthood