Is the Religious Recession Real?

TWO OF AMERICA’S PROMINENT FAITHS, Catholicism and Protestantism, are sharing a big part in the religious decline in people nowadays. In a survey called “Americas Changing Religious Landscape”, Pew, a research center based in Washington, whose research helps U.S. and international policymakers, civic leaders, educators, and the public at large to understand and address some of the world’s most challenging problems, found that almost every major Christian professing church has been losing members. What is striking is that it is not only young members who are departing from their religious life; rather, every demographic group has seen a drop in people who call themselves Christians. This survey stated; “While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages. The same trends are seen among whites, blacks and Latinos; among both college graduates and adults with only a high school education; and among women as well as men … the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated—describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”—has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%.”

“… the United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world, and a large majority of Americans—roughly seven-in-ten—continue to identify with some branch of the Christian faith. But the major new survey of more than 35,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage point in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014.”

“Of the major subgroups within American Christianity, mainline Protestantism—a tradition that includes the United Methodist Church, the American Baptist Churches USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Episcopal Church, among others—appears to have experienced the greatest drop in absolute numbers. In 2007, there were an estimated 41 million mainline Protestant adults in the United States. As of 2014, there are roughly 36 million, a decline of 5 million—although, taking into account the surveys’ combined margins or error, the number of mainline Protestants may have fallen by as few as 7.3 million between 2007 and 2014.”

“Like mainline Protestants, Catholics appear to be declining both as a percentage of the population and in absolute numbers. The new survey indicates there are about 51 million Catholic adults in the U.S. today, roughly 3 million fewer than 2007.”

“More than 85% of American adults were raised Christian, but nearly a quarter of those who were raised Christian no longer identify with Christianity.”

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