By Aaron Earls
Men and women, Republicans and Democrats, white and black, college-educated and not, Baby Boomers and millennials. These groups don’t often have a lot in common, but one thing is true for them all—Christianity is in decline.
In new data released by Pew Research, Christianity has dropped to 65% of the U.S. population, while the religiously unaffiliated or “nones” grew to 26%.
Among the nones, atheists and agnostics both grew two percentage points, climbing from 2% and 3% to 4% and 5% respectively.
The largest increase is among those who say they are “nothing in particular” in terms of their religious identification. They grew from 12% of the population to 17%.
Christianity has declined in virtually every major demographic group, while nones have simultaneously grown.
In the past decade, Christianity has had double digit percentage point decreases among men (-12), women (-11), millennials (-16), whites (-12), blacks (-11), Hispanics (-10), those with less than a college education (-11), college graduates (-13), Democrats (-17), those who live in the Northeast (-15), those who live in the South (-12), and those who live in the Midwest (-10).
Smaller, but still significant loses were found among the Silent Generation (-2), Baby Boomers (-6), Generation X (-8), Republicans (-7), and those who live in the West (-9).
Both Protestants and Catholics have seen their share of Americans decline. Currently, 43% of U.S. adults identify as Protestants, down from 51% a decade ago.
Catholics have ticked downward from 23% in 2009 to 20% today, which means there are now more American nones than American Catholics.
The religiously unaffiliated are statistically equal to the share of Americans who self-identify as born-again or evangelical. That percentage stands at 25%, down from 28% in 2009.
Declines were even greater among Protestants who do not identify as evangelical. They dropped from 23% to 18% of the U.S. population.
This means that while evangelical Protestants make up a smaller percentage of the American population as a whole, the American Protestant population is more evangelical than ever.
A decade ago, 56% of Protestants identified as born again/evangelical. Today, that number has climbed to 59%.
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.