Good News: The decline of Christianity in the U.S. is continuing at a “rapid pace” according to the latest Pew Research report.
The report, released Thursday (Oct. 17), shows a dramatic decline in the number of Americans identifying as Christian, while the number of people with no religion (“nones”) continues to rise at a dramatic pace.
Pew Research Center reports:
The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.
Commenting on the report, Greg Smith, associate director of research at Pew, said:
“The rate at which Christians are declining is very striking. And the share of Americans who have no religion is growing very rapidly, which is just as striking.
The report notes that both Catholics and Protestants “are experiencing losses of population share,” and that Protestants now make up less than half of all U.S. adults:
Both Protestantism and Catholicism are experiencing losses of population share. Currently, 43% of U.S. adults identify with Protestantism, down from 51% in 2009. And one-in-five adults (20%) are Catholic, down from 23% in 2009.
As for the rise of the “nones,” those without religion, the report notes:
Meanwhile, all subsets of the religiously unaffiliated population — a group also known as religious “nones” — have seen their numbers swell. Self-described atheists now account for 4% of U.S. adults, up modestly but significantly from 2% in 2009; agnostics make up 5% of U.S. adults, up from 3% a decade ago; and 17% of Americans now describe their religion as “nothing in particular,” up from 12% in 2009.
The report continues:
Religious ‘nones’ have grown across multiple demographic groups: white people, black people and Hispanics; men and women; all regions of the country; and among college graduates and those with lower levels of educational attainment.
Religious ‘nones’ are growing faster among Democrats than Republicans, though their ranks are swelling in both partisan coalitions. And although the religiously unaffiliated are on the rise among younger people and most groups of older adults, their growth is most pronounced among young adults.
Bottom line: The news is good. The decline of Christianity in the U.S. is continuing at a “rapid pace,” while the number of people with no religion (“nones”) continues to rise.