Christian population in the US declines, says Pew study.
By Raif Karerat
WASHINGTON, DC: The Christian population in the United States is declining while the number of adults who do not identify with any organized religion is on the rise, according to a study newly published by the Pew Research Center.
The United States still remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world, and a large majority of Americans – roughly seven-in-ten – continue to identify with some branch of the Christian faith, reported Pew.
However, its most recent survey of more than 35,000 Americans found that the percentage of adults aged 18 and older who describe themselves as Christian has dropped nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4 percent in 2007 to 70.6 percent in 2014.
Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated – describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – has jumped more than six points, from 16.1 percent to 22.8 percent.
The decline is seen across many segments of American society, including whites, Latinos, women, men and those with or without a college education.
The drop in the Christian share of the population has been driven mainly by declines among mainline Protestants and Catholics.
While Protestants accounted for 51.3 percent of Americans with religious affiliation in 2007, they slipped to 46.5 percent in 2014, with 62 million Evangelicals and another 36 million belonging to mainstream Protestant denominations. Roman Catholics number 51 million, down three million from 2007.
Non-Christian faiths grew in proportion from 4.7 percent in 2007 to 5.9 percent last year, with growth particularly notable among Muslims and Hindus, albeit from a small reference base point, the study said.
Meanwhile, interfaith marriages appear to be on the rise, accounting for four out of 10 marriages since 2010 compared to fewer than one in 10 prior to 1960.