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Christians Decline while Religious “Nones” become Second Largest Faith Group

Old Church

New research shows Christianity in America is declining, while the number of those unaffiliated with religion is increasing.

Over the past seven years, the United States has become a less Christian country, according to the Religious Landscape Study, the latest such study conducted by the Pew Research Center. Meanwhile, the rise in nones, the religiously unaffiliated has continued in America.

Christianity is far and away still the most populous of the religious denominations at approximately 70%, but this is down from about 78% in 2007, when Pew did its first study.

What is probably most striking about the findings is that the shrinking numbers are not confined to any particular denomination or demographic. The study reveals that declines are present among women and men, among whites, blacks and Latinos, and among college graduates and people with a high school diploma.

However, the largest declines occurred in younger Americans who increasingly leave behind religious institutions and identify with nones. For example, the percentage of millennials born between 1981 and 1989 who did not affiliate with a particular religion grew from 25% in 2007 to 34% in 2014, the Washington Post reports.

The Washington Post analysis of the report also reveals something quite telling: nones or non-affiliated Americans (23%) now outnumber American Catholics (21%) and mainline Protestants (15%). Moreover, the Washington Post also found that the non-affiliated group has become less religious and hence, more secular.  In 2007, 25% of the nones reported themselves to be atheist or agnostic.  That number jumped to 31% in 2014.

Other highlights from the report:


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