Research Suggests Christianity in the U.S. Is Shrinking

Research Suggests Christianity in the U.S. Is Shrinking

According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, the number of Americans who identify as Christians is dwindling. The study also shows that people who don’t identify with any religion in particular, in other words agnostics and atheists, are swelling in numbers.

The PRC’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study was made available earlier this week, and it shows that that from 2007 to 2014, the rate of Christian-identifying adults in the U.S. dropped from 78.4% to 70.6%. That’s nearly an 8% decrease. Over the same timespan, the number of “nones”—the atheiest and agnostic group—went up from 16.1% to 22.8%. That’s nearly a 7% uptick.

According to a story posted in the Salt Lake Tribune, these numbers reflect a trend on religion which first began around 30 years ago. However, the numbers are changing more rapidly, and the story cites a new openness among the U.S. population to switching religious affiliation.

One of the reasons people are more likely to switch faiths now than they were a few decades ago is that more people are marrying outside their faith. This makes for a more dynamic religious makeup across the country.

Here are a few more tidbits from the survey:

• All faiths and most demographic groups are affected by the drop in Christian numbers and the increase in the “nones.” The numbers bear out for Gen-Yers, but also for older people. The shift also holds true regardless of whether people have a college education or just a high school education, whether they are male or female, or wether they are black, white or Latino.

• The rate of unaffiliated people is highest in the western U.S., where “nones” comes it at 28%. (In 2007, it was 21%.) “Nones” in the South check in at 19%.

• While previous studies have been mixed on the rates among Catholics, this study shows that they too are losing numbers in America. In 2007, Catholics made up 23.9% of people in the U.S., As of 2014, that number was down to 20.8%. Mainline Protestant numbers fell too, down nearly 5% (51.3% in 2007 to 46.5% in 2014).

Source. The Salt Lake Tribune