The foregoing summary provides a few hints as to why astrology might be surging at the moment. First, it is a youthful movement, and another recent Pew Research Study shows that Millennials are less religious than older generations but not less spiritual. In answer to the question, “Religion is very important,” only 41 percent of Millennials said yes, in comparison to 59 percent of Baby Boomers. At the same time Millennials were very similar to other generations on questions about having a sense of wonder in the universe, feelings of gratitude, and a concern for meaning and purpose (Alper 2015). So, for some younger people for whom traditional religion does not appeal, astrology may provide a spiritual outlet.
Second, two factors are very likely combining to make astrology more appealing at the moment—liberalism and a need for control. Astrology has a stronger appeal for liberals than conservatives, and in the United States, since November of 2016, the liberal world has been rocked. If ever there was a time when liberals might be looking for a compensatory sense of control, now is it. Conservatives are feeling better, but even if the tables were turned, the Pew survey data suggests they would be more likely to take refuge in religion rather than astrology or other forms of spirituality. If history of this moment has promoted belief in the paranormal, it would not be the first time. Earlier studies have shown an increased interest in astrology and other occult beliefs during periods of economic and political stress, such as in Germany during the 1930s (Padgett and Jorgenson 1982). Similarly, the “Secrets of the Psychics” NOVA program, in which James Randi demonstrated the Barnum Effect, was produced in response to a surge in interest in the paranormal in Russia following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Finally, we cannot overlook an obvious additional factor—the internet.