The United States has become more secular in the late 20th and early 21st century. We see the following patterns:

  • Christians: About 86% of Americans consideredthemselves Christians in 1990, but by 2008 this number hadfallen to between 76 and 78%.
  • Nonbelievers: Americans with no religion rose from 8% in 1990 to 15% in 2008. Every state saw a rise in its proportion of nonbelievers.
  • Prayer: The percentage of people who ever prayed stood at 95% in 1983, and dropped to about 88% by 2008. Meanwhile, the number of people who reported "never" praying rose from about 4% to 11% in the same period.
  • Religious service attendance:In 1972, the majority of people attended religious services once a month or more frequently. In 2008, a slim majority attended several times a year or less often. The greatest growth has been among those never attending. Actual weekly church attendance is estimated at somewhere between 17 and 30%, not the 40% level common in self-reporting polls. This means that at least 70% of Americans do not attend church weekly, or even every other week. And this has been true for several decades.
  • Reading sacred texts: In 2007, 41% of people reported reading sacred textsless than once a year, or never.