Unaffiliated Americans on the rise, Christianity takes a dive.
Perhaps belonging to a band of bigoted, sexist, hypocrites isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?
The Pew Research Center recently released a study aptly titled “America’s Changing Landscape” showing that Christianity is down 7.8 percentage points from their last study done in 2007. Of course, Christians are still the majority religion in this country with a total of 70.6 percent of Americans identifying with some version of the Christian faith.
The unaffiliated experienced the biggest bump. In 2007, only 16.1 percent of Americans identified as religiously unaffiliated. In 2014, 22.8 percent associated with the unaffiliated with a 6.7 percent change. That’s a big change!
Also experiencing a bump were the non-Christian faiths (Muslim, Jewish, Hindu etc.) at 4.7 percent in 2007 to 5.9 percent in 2014.
The unaffiliated are comprised of atheists, agnostics, and nothing in particular folks.
Also important to note, the same change is seen across all demographics; blacks, whites, Latinos, men and women and across all age groups.
Here is the graph:
As the religious right pulls harder and harder right, almost teetering on extremism, they seem to be turning a few moderates off, and definitely the younger generation, as the study finds the highest change to unaffiliated in the older Millennial generation and Generation X.
Other important highlights from the study:
- Although it is low relative to other religious groups, the retention rate of the unaffiliated has increased. In the current survey, 53% of those raised as religiously unaffiliated still identify as “nones” in adulthood, up seven points since 2007. And among Millennials, “nones” actually have one of the highest retention rates of all the religious categories that are large enough to analyze in the survey.
- The percentage of college graduates who identify with Christianity has declined by nine percentage points since 2007 (from 73% to 64%). The Christian share of the population has declined by a similar amount among those with less than a college education (from 81% to 73%). Religious “nones” now constitute 24% of all college graduates (up from 17%) and 22% of those with less than a college degree (up from 16%).
- The Christian share of the population is declining and the religiously unaffiliated share is growing in all four major geographic regions of the country. Religious “nones” now constitute 19% of the adult population in the South (up from 13% in 2007), 22% of the population in the Midwest (up from 16%), 25% of the population in the Northeast (up from 16%) and 28% of the population in the West (up from 21%). In the West, the religiously unaffiliated are more numerous than Catholics (23%), evangelicals (22%) and every other religious group.
It makes you wonder, to see the large drop off in religious affiliation since President Obama took office, if the change is because a growing amount of Christians have become increasingly apocalyptic, began to protest against ALL birth control for women and became even more staunchly anti-homosexual (even as the laws for gay marriage and protections for sexual identity began to change).
Featured Image: Pew Research Center