‘Christian America’ dwindling, including white evangelicals, study shows

Sep 7, 2017

By Kimberly Winston

The future of religion in America is young, non-Christian and technicolor.

Almost every Christian denomination in the U.S. shows signs of growing diversity as white Christians, once the majority in most mainline Protestant and Catholic denominations, give way to younger members, who tend to be of different races, according to a study released Wednesday (Sept. 6) by the Public Religion Research Institute.

And American evangelicals — once seemingly immune to the decline experienced by their Catholic and mainline Protestant neighbors —  are losing numbers and losing them quickly.

Americans are also continuing to move away from organized religion altogether, as atheists, agnostics and those who say they do not identify with any particular religion — the group known as the “nones”  — hold steady at about one-quarter (24 percent) of the population.

The study, “America’s Changing Religious Identity,” contacted 101,000 Americans in 50 states, and has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 0.4 percentage points. And while the survey spotlights transformations afoot in many religious groups, it also shows a seismic shift for a long-standing American religious powerhouse: white evangelicals.

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2 comments on “‘Christian America’ dwindling, including white evangelicals, study shows

  • @OP – link –

    The Catholic Church is headed south. A majority of Catholics now live in the American South (29 percent) or West (25 percent). That’s a reverse from four decades ago, when 7 in 10 Catholics lived in the Northeast or the Midwest.

    White Christians are a minority in the Democratic Party. Fewer than 1 in 3 Democrats are white Christians, down from almost half 10 years ago. And Democrats under 30 are increasingly less religious — only 14 percent identify as white Christian, while 40 percent are nones.

    While white evangelical Protestants are losing adherents, they remain the dominant religious force among Republicans — more than one-third (35 percent) of Republicans are white evangelicals, a stable proportion for the last 10 years.

    Among the survey’s chief findings:

    White Christians, 81 percent of the population in 1976, now account for less than half the public — 43 percent of Americans identify as white Christians, and 30 percent as white Protestants.

    92 percent of Lutherans are white, more than in any other denomination.

    White Christians are aging. About 1 in 10 white Catholics, evangelicals and mainline Protestants are under 30, compared with one-third of all Hindus and Buddhists.

    Muslims and Mormons are the youngest faith groups in the U.S., with 42 percent of all Muslims under 3o, and nearly a quarter of all Mormons.

    The move away from the main organised Christian religions, apart from in immigrant communities, is notable in the younger generation!

    There is a similar but larger move in the younger generation in the UK.


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