U.S. is still overwhelmingly Christian, study finds

Posted by Kendall Harmon

America remains an overwhelmingly Christian country, but the nation's religious life also shows great fluidity, with many adults switching religious affiliations or abandoning ties to organized denominations altogether, according to a new survey released today.

The study also suggests that, in the near future, Protestants may no longer make up a majority of Americans.

Barely 51% of Americans are Protestants, and among people between the ages of 18 and 29, just 43% identify with this branch of Christianity, according to the study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

More than four in 10 adults, or 44%, have switched religious affiliations, moved from being unaffiliated with any faith tradition to affiliated, or abandoned any ties to a specific religion altogether, according to the study. But the study also found that Americans who identify themselves as Christians has remained constant -- nearly 8 in 10.

Today's 148-page study, made public at a teleconference from Washington, D.C., is the first report of the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, a project in the works for more than a year. The interviews were conducted from May 8 to Aug. 13 in 2007. The study was based on interviews in English and Spanish with a representative sample of more than 35,000 adults.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

Posted February 25, 2008 at 5:39 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Tikvah wrote:

“U.S. is still overwhelmingly Christian, study finds ...”  Sure it is; you can see the reflection of Christian behavior, for instance, in the attitude of folks behind the wheel of their autos as they visually swear at other drivers, or every night on the nightly news. Pardon my negativity, but if we were truly ‘overwhelmingly’ Christian, we wouldn’t be murdering each other, cheating on spouses and in business, lying, raping, having children out of wedlock and/or murdering our unborn babies, for starters. This very subject, oddly enough, has been weighing heavily on my mind and heart for the last few days. Simply put, the Church in this country is talking the talk, but not walking the walk. We are materially spoiled and spiritually lazy ... IMHO. Yes, I include myself. :-(

February 25, 7:03 pm | [comment link]
2. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

I wonder if these U.S. “Christians” know as much about Christianity as they do about geography?
The Rabbit.

February 25, 7:25 pm | [comment link]
3. C. Wingate wrote:

Ignore the tornado-spinning news reports and go directly to the source for a lot of really fascinating stuff. This is the best stuff you’re likely to see for a long time.

To me the most striking data is how boring the results are—“boring” in the sense that a lot of “hot trends” aren’t borne out in the data. Particularly striking is how the the demographics between evangelical and mainline protestants are a little different, but not dramatically different. Mainlines are a little older, a little better educated, a little richer, a little less endowed with kids (though the way they measured the latter is odd—it’s not the same as how many kids are being born); but they aren’t dramatically different. Minority groups remain tiny minority groups: by their count, Anglican still outnumber Moslems two to one.

February 25, 8:26 pm | [comment link]
4. Hope wrote:

Pardon my negativity, but if we were truly ‘overwhelmingly’ Christian, we wouldn’t be murdering each other, cheating on spouses and in business, lying, raping, having children out of wedlock and/or murdering our unborn babies, for starters.

Yes, you are right.  Just about everyone I know is doing these things.

February 25, 9:25 pm | [comment link]
5. Bob G+ wrote:

I found the following statistics very telling:

When asked about martial status, among Evangelicals and Mainliners (where TEC resides), 5% of respondents in both groups say they “Living with partner.”  The same.  This is telling concerning all the accusation made by Evangelicals (of whatever stripe) against Mainliners (particularly in our case TEC0).  Hum… Divorce is fairly consistent between the two groups, with Catholics coming in slightly lower.

Jews and Hindus are the most educated and the wealthiest!

Concerning the question of whether children live at home or not, this really surprised me, particularly considering all the talk of family values in the U.S. - 65% of Evangelicals, 71% of Mainliners, and 61% of Roman Catholics have no children at home!

February 26, 8:19 am | [comment link]
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