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A study by the Pew Research Center shows a secularizing shift in American society with those self-identifying as Christian dropping 6 points in five years.
Christians continue to make up a majority of the U.S. populace, but their share of the adult population is 12 points lower in 2021 than it was in 2011, Pew revealed. In addition, the share of U.S. adults who say they pray on a daily basis has been trending downward, as has the share who say religion is “very important” in their lives.
Currently, about three-in-ten U.S. adults (29%) are religious “nones” – people who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religious identity.
Self-identified Christians of all varieties make up 63% of the adult population. Christians now outnumber religious “nones” by a ratio of a little more than two-to-one. In 2007, when the Center began asking its current question about religious identity, Christians outnumbered “nones” by almost five-to-one (78% vs. 16%).
The recent declines within Christianity are concentrated among Protestants, which amounts to 40% of U.S. adults who describe themselves as “just Christian” along with Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians and members of many other denominational families, Pew explained.
The Protestant share of the population is down 4 percentage points over the last five years and has dropped 10 points in 10 years, Pew Research noted. Within Protestantism, evangelicals continue to outnumber those who are not evangelical. Currently, 60% of Protestants say “yes” when asked whether they think of themselves as a “born-again or evangelical Christian,” while 40% say “no” or decline to answer the question.
By comparison, the Catholic share of the population, which had ticked downward between 2007 and 2014, has held relatively steady in recent years. As of 2021, 21% of U.S. adults describe themselves as Catholic, identical to the Catholic share of the population in 2014.
The full report can be found at www.pewforum.org.