Tuesday, May 12, 2015

America going secular? Survey says – yes: Christian ranks fall as numbers of no-faith grow

Christianity is still the dominant religion in America, with seven in 10 claiming affiliation with the belief, but those touting no particular religion – the "nones" – are rapidly taking over the country.

The number of "nones" has grown to 56 million, a Pew Research Center study released Tuesday

Pew conducted two surveys between 2007 and 2014 on religion in America and discovered the number of Americans who claim atheism, agnostism, or no particular faith grew from 16 percent to 23 percent. During that time frame, the number of Americans laying claim to Christianity fell from 78 percent to 71 percent.

Protestants are now only 47 percent of the country, a massive decrease in recent years, Pew found. By the numbers Protestants decreased by five million, to 36 millioin, between 2007 and 2014.

"[The findings] point to substantive changes" said Greg Smith, Pew's associated research director, in The Associated Press.

Among one noted change: Those with no religious affiliation or belief trend Democratic. Conversely, white evangelicals typically vote Republican, Pew said.

The survey of 35,000 people is called "America's Changing Religious Landscape" and has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.6 percent.

It notes: "The drop in the Christian share of the population has been driven mainly by declines among mainline Protestants and Catholics. Each of those large religious traditions has shrunk by approximately three percentage points since 2007. ... And the share of Americans who identify with non-Christian faiths also has inched up, rising 1.2 percentage points, from 4.7 percent in 2007 to 5.9 percent in 201. Growth has been especially great among Muslims and Hindus, albeit from a very low base."


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