Experts say divorce impacting religion's decline

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Much has been said about younger Americans tending to shy away from religion in much greater numbers than previous generations, but now, researchers think they may have found the culprit.

A new study from The Public Religion Research Institute found that, if you want your children to stay in church, it helps to stay with your spouse.

SEE MORE: Religion Is Worth A LOT To The Economy

The study says 35 percent of people raised by divorced parents consider themselves religiously unaffiliated, compared to 23 percent of people whose parents were married for most of their childhood.

Related: Notable couples who called in quits in 2016:

18 PHOTOS
Celebrity breakups of 2016
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Celebrity breakups of 2016

Mariah Carey and billionaire James Packer called off their engagement in October, the singer's representative confirmed, after a fight in Greece

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Former NBA player Scottie Pippen filed for divorce from his wife Larsa in October after 19 years of marriage.

REUTERS/Jeff Haynes 

Tobey McGuire and his wife, Jennifer Meyer, separated in October after nine years of marriage.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson 

Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts split in September after 11 years together.

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt in September after two years of marriage, ending a relationship that began in 2005. 

 REUTERS/Andreas Rentz/Pool 

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard divorced in August after 15 months of marriage, following weeks of highly publicized claims of domestic violence by Heard and counterclaims of financial blackmailing by Depp. 

 REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Sharon Osbourne announced in May that she was no longer living with her husband Ozzy Osbourne, to whom she has been married for more than three decades.

REUTERS/Gus Ruelas

Lady Gaga and Taylor Kinney called off their engagement in July after a five-year relationship. 

REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman announced their divorce in April. The two married in 2012 and have two children together. 

 REUTERS/Kena Betancur 

Jennifer Lopez and Casper Smart broke up in August after an on-again, off-again relationship dating back to at least 2012.

 REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Soccer player Abby Wambach and Sarah Huffman announced their divorce in September after marrying in 2013

 REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann 

Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson split in July after 10 years together.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Rapper Iggy Azalea and NBA player Nick Young split in June after Nick's cheating was exposed on Instagram by a fellow teammate.

 REUTERS/L.E. Baskow

Casey Affleck and Summer Phoenix, the sister of Joaquin Phoenix, separated in March after 10 years of marriage.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson 

Steve-O and Kat Von D split after just three months of dating in March.

 REUTERS/Gus Ruelas 

Garrett Hedlund and Kirsten Dunst broke up in April after four years of dating. 

 REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni 

Actors Peter Facinelli and Jaimie Alexander ended their engagement in February.

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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Some researchers and theologians believe the strain of splitting a family can make it tough for kids to keep the faith. If they see the church fail to keep their parents together, they might not rely on it for other struggles they encounter in life.

RELATED: Marital status breakdown in the United States

Luther Seminary professor Andrew Root told The Washington Post, "Everything in a divorce gets divided. Literally everything. ... Everyone takes sides. Even religion takes sides. The church gets divided. Dad leaves Mom's faith, or vice versa. Negotiating those worlds becomes difficult."

Now, just because you're "religiously unaffiliated," that doesn't necessarily mean you're not religious. About 18 percent of that group still says religion is important to them — they just don't associate themselves with a particular religion.

It will be interesting to see whether those percentages stay closely linked. The divorce rate for couples who wed in the '90s are much lower than those in the '70s and '80s. But we'll have to wait years to find out if the kids those marriages produced follow in the faith footsteps of their families.

Take a look at some of the most unusual church signs around the country:

10 PHOTOS
Unusual church signs
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Unusual church signs
#ChurchSignoftheWeek: I bet Peter got it a time or two… https://t.co/gRnnuUtbSY https://t.co/5qNvSca2bP
Church sign for the start of school! https://t.co/vH9P6k2rPg
Saw this sign at a local church today. 😂😂 #WordsOfWisdom https://t.co/D2l0RPHr9R
Hunger Games-inspired church sign https://t.co/OU9EvXe4H6
The saga of the realest church sign continues #part4 https://t.co/uyjenbGvK2
The latest sign at St Andrews Church #PokemonGO https://t.co/rwmxxhoWA0
Best church sign ever... ⛪️✝💦 https://t.co/E2BktT4BRq
@edstetzer How's this church sign? https://t.co/Rh7xcU0rFY
My award for "worst use of a church sign" this week goes to this Methodist church - City & state withheld https://t.co/Nd2T078dYu
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