The Pew Research Center issued a stunning new study on religion in America today showing most major organized Christian faiths in decline. And it’s not just among young people; the decline occurs across the age groups, according to Pew.
At the same time, the number of “unreligious” people in the United States grew between 2007 and 2014, the period of which the study surveyed.
Seven of 10 Americans still identify as “Christian”, but the survey found that in just seven years, the percentage of the 35,000 surveyed dropped by 8 percentage points.
Non-Hispanic whites now account for smaller shares of evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics than they did seven years earlier, while Hispanics have grown as a share of all three religious groups, Pew said.
Mainline Protestant religions, which include Lutherans, suffered the biggest drop percentage-wise, although the number of faithful has increased.
It also showed how extensive “religion switching” is. Only about a third of those surveyed are in the same religion in which they were raised.
The survey tells the “what” but it doesn’t tell the “why”, unfortunately. It’s clear, however, that it symbolizes a generational change.
“The low levels of Christian affiliation among the young, well educated and affluent are consistent with prevailing theories for the rise of the unaffiliated, like the politicization of religion by American conservatives, a broader disengagement from all traditional institutions and labels, the combination of delayed and interreligious marriage, and economic development,” Nate Cohn at the New York Times’ Upshot asserts.
He theorizes that the decline could be linked to the association of Christianity with conservative political values, though there is no data to prove it.
Here’s how things break out in Minnesota: