According to a fascinating study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Protestants now make up only 48% of the US population. This marks the first time in history that the majority of Americans have identified with a religious affiliation other than Protestant denominations or no affiliation at all. According to the Pew Study, the percentage of Americans who identify themselves as Christian has plunged from 78% to 73% in the last five years — and nearly all of that loss has occurred among Protestants. The percentage of Americans who identify themselves as Protestants has dropped from 53% in 2007 to 48% this year. Conversely, nearly all of those who have left the Protestant faith have replaced it with no faith at all; the number of Americans who now describe themselves as “Unaffiliated” has grown from 15.3% in 2007 to 19.6% in 2012. The percentage that identify themselves as Catholics has remained steady at 22%.
There appear to be several factors that have led to this decrease in faith in America, including the replacing of the most religious generation — “the greatest generation” (those born from 1917-1934) — with the least religious generation (those born from 1990-1994). It is also instructive that 70% of those that now describe themselves as “unaffiliated” believe that churches and other religious organizations are too focused on money and power, while 67% believe that churches and other religious organization are too involved in politics.
To read the entirety of the Pew Forum’s fascinating study, please click here: