Fewer Than Half of Americans Are Protestants

One of the surprising results from today’s Pew report: Protestants are now less than half of the U.S. population.

USA Today offers this lovely infographic:

Look at us! We’re down there in the bottom row!

Represented by a whole bunch of white men.

In other words, not very different from atheists in general.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Gus Snarp

    Yeah, but why are the Mormons black?

    • Collin

      I know, the irony is amazing.

    • http://billybobsbibleblog.blogspot.com/ billybobbibb

      I think because they are the black sheep of Christianity.

    • TnkAgn

      Well, there are black Mormons. But if Mormons are 2%, black Mormons must hover around .03%. I just made that up, but it stands to reason, and if someone wants to do the research, go for it

    • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

      cuz, Mormon God had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Also, it’s important to realize that “Protestants” is a waste-basket term that includes     Anglican, Baptist, Congregational, Lutheranism, Methodism, Presbyterianism, Reformed, etc.

    So it is very fair to say that NO single religion in the USA makes up even a QUARTER of the USA population.

    This is an important point when so many theocrats want to impose their religion into government while trying to claim they represent the majority of Americans.

    • TnkAgn

       Don’t forget the Unitarian Universalists. It is the religious affiliation for Atheists and Agnostics who have yet to come out. I considered it when I was 15 or so, but thought, “Why bother?”

  • grindstone

    Oh no, does this mean that they can now legitimately claim “oppressed minority” status????

    • The Other Weirdo

       No, because we keep claiming we are not a movement or a religion. Really short-sighted of us, I think. Just imagine: taxfree benefits for us all if we just admit we’re a religion. :)

      Seriously, though. I don’t think so, but I can’t tell you why.

      • ortcutt

         Most atheist and secularist groups are 501(c)3 tax-exempt, tax-deductible organizations.  They get non-profit status under the educational rather than the religious category.  Unlike churches, they have to file 990s, but it’s a good thing that secular organizations need to be transparent to donors and the public.

  • ortcutt

    Also interesting is that there are more “Nones” (20%) than there are white evangelical Protestants (19%). 

  • scinquiry

    Perhaps I’m misinterpreting the graphic, but I see the white representation of the ‘nones’ as empty, while those of some religious bent are full, in some variation of color.  What they are full of is a matter of interpretation…  But the popular view perhaps could be that we are ‘spiritually’ deficient (aka, reality based), which is a good thing, of course. 

  • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

    Wow, way to read into a graphic.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, Blonde

    orthodox what? xtians, i’ll assume. but there are lots of different kinds of “orthodox” faiths out there; i find that a bit sloppy to not qualify this properly.

    i agree with a previous poster. there are all sorts of protestant faiths, ranging from quakers to near-atheists UUs to crazy snake handling pentacostals to mild as milktoast methodists to kobol worshipping mormons. catholics still make up the largest single faith in this country, and even they aren’t all exactly the same sort of ‘catholic.’ everybody here probably knows the joke in which the punchline goes, “MO synod of 1815, or 1843?” and given that idea, it’s heartening and wonderful to realize that’ none’ is the fastest growing group.it’s even better when you include the group  of “yeah, i go to a church or something twice a year but that’s just because i don’t want to make trouble with my family, i don’t really believe in any superstition” and the silly but not hate-filled neo pagans and suchlike.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

      “Orthodox” usually refers to the assorted varieties of Orthodox Christian — Greek, Russian, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and so on. They’re a tiny fraction in the US, circa 1% all together. This is small enough that it’s hard to be more exact about the fraction using the sample sizes Pew does.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

    Not surprising at all, to me. I was wondering when the news would hit.

    (Feel free to mock me for feeling smug.)

  • Kelley1946

     What difference does it make if “WE” are outnumbered 80 percent to 20 percent?

  • Erp

    I should point out Nones include  a large number of people who consider themselves as believers but not formally affiliated with any religion.   A far smaller percentage would say they are atheists or agnostics (29% of the nones according to the report so about 6% overall) and about the same say they don’t believe in God (however as in previous Pew surveys some of the atheists/agnostics are absolutely convinced God or a universal spirit exists and some of those who don’t say they are atheist/agnostic don’t believe in a God or a universal spirit).  

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

      Of course, if you’re pointing that out, it should also be pointed out that the Nothing In Particular segment, while growing overall and still a larger share of the Nones than the Atheists or Agnostics, is also a steadily diminishing share of the Nones, according to the Pew data.

  • Heidi

    How many of those Protestants *know* they’re Protestants? I can’t even count the number of Evangelicals who have looked at me like I had four heads when I used the term. An awful lot of them seem to think that “Christian” means non-Catholic Christians, and that Catholics aren’t Christians. Which is bizarre to me, but there it is.


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