The proportion of US adults who describe themselves as being members of a Christian denomination has fallen to two-thirds, a drop of 12 percentage points over the past decade, according to data from the Pew Research Center.
Over the same period, the proportion of those describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” has risen by 17 percentage points to more than one quarter of the adult population.
The proportion of US adults who are white Evangelical Protestants – the religious group which strives hardest to see its political agenda adopted – is now 16%, down from 19% a decade ago.
The number going to church at least once or twice a month has fallen by seven percentage points over the past decade. More Americans now say they attend religious services a few times a year or less (54%) than say they attend at least monthly (45%).
The fall in religious identification and activity has affected both Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. According to Pew, 43% of adults identify with Protestantism, down from 51% in 2009. And 20% are Catholic, down from 23% in 2009. Though their numbers account for roughly 0.4% of the overall US population Pew’s study did not include data regarding the religious affiliation of Americans who identify as being members of the various Orthodox Christian – including Russian, Greek, Armenian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Assyrian, and Coptic – communities in the country. The data shows a wide gap between older Americans (Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation) and Millennials in their levels of religious affiliation and attendance. More than eight-in-ten members of the Silent Generation (those born between 1928 and 1945) describe themselves as Christians (84%), as do three-quarters of Baby Boomers (76%), the generation born between 1946 and 1965), as well over half of Generation X (67%), those born between 1966-1981).
In stark contrast, only half of Millennials (49%) describe themselves as Christians; four-in-ten are religious “nones,” and one-in-ten Millennials identify with non-Christian faiths.
Fewer than half of Millennials (49%) describe themselves as Christians; four in 10 are not religiously affiliated, and 9% identify with non-Christian faiths.
The share of US adults who identify with non-Christian faiths has increased from 5% in 2009 to 7% in 2019. 2% of Americans are identify as religious Jews, 1% say they are practicing Muslims, 1% are Buddhist, 1% are Hindu, and 3% who identify with other faiths, including people who say they abide by their own personal religious beliefs.