According to the Pew Research Center, a study has shown that fewer Americans identify as Christians. The study surveyed that 35,000 Americans between 2007 and 2014 were asked whether or not they identified with a specific religion. The results showed an increase in Americans claiming no religion at all.
“The landscape of American religion has changed drastically in the last seven years. There are at least five major noticeable changes.”
Christianity is declining at a rapid pace. In 2007, 78.4 percent of U.S. adults identified with a Christian group, such as Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and others. That number has decreased to 70.6 percent. It means there are about 173 million Christian adults in the U.S. today, compared to 178 million in 2007. In seven years, 5 million people changed their minds.
The biggest drop was seen among mainline Protestants and Catholics. Protestants represented 18.1 percent of U.S. adults in 2007. Then the numbers dropped to 14.7 percent in 2014. Catholics were 23.9 percent, and the percentage dropped to 20.8. Evangelical Protestants declined only about 1 percent from 26.3 to 25.4 percent. This group is the one that almost always stay the same. Changes, if any, are usually small ones.
The Pew Research Center charts about 7 percent of U.S. adults as atheists or agnostics. Those who claim no religion is up from 16.1 percent to 22.8 percent. That’s a lot of people who have changed their minds. It means that nearly one-in-five U.S. adults who were raised as Christians, or affiliated with some religion, now admit they have no religious affiliation.
Most of the people who have no religious affiliation are young people. More men than women have no religious background. Even so, the decline is across all demographic groups, with no exceptions.
What might surprise some people is that why Christianity is declining, other religious groups such as Hinduism and Islam have grown from 4.7 percent in 2007 to 5.9 percent in 2014.
The Washington Post reported that Alan Cooperman, director of religion research for the Pew Research Center, acknowledges that the decline is not in just one religion.
“It’s remarkably widespread. The country is becoming less religious as a whole, and it’s happening across the board.”
There are some obvious reasons for these changes. For instance, people switch religions. This might happen through interfaith marriages, or for other reasons.
Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan “fact tank” that informs the public about issues, attitudes, and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take policy positions. Rather, it charts and compares data to keep the public informed about various trends.
[Image via Pew Research Center]