Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Religious Disaffiliation: Christianity Sees Steady US Decline

Christianity in the U.S. is quickly declining while Americans with no religious affiliation continue to rise, the Pew Research Center reported Thursday. 

(CN) — Christianity in the U.S. is quickly declining while Americans with no religious affiliation continue to rise, the Pew Research Center reported Thursday. 

After interviewing 168,890 U.S. adults since 2009 — part of 88 phone surveys conducted by random-digit dialing — Pew found that 65% of Americans identify as a Christian, based on 2018 and 2019 phone calls, down 12 percentage points from 2009. 

Meanwhile Americans who do not affiliate with a religion, sometimes referred to as “nones,” grew rapidly over the 10-year period: 26% identify now as Atheist, Agnostic or not at all, which is up from 17%.

Broad-based declines in share of Americans who say they are Christian

Catholicism and Protestantism took a hit to their population share over the last decade with 43% of Americans identifying as a Protestant, down from 51% in 2009. Catholics now make up 20% of adults, down from 23%.

Age appears to play a factor in the decline, with about half (49%) of millennials identifying as Christian, compared to three-quarters of baby boomers. The Silent Generation, members of whom were born between 1928 and 1945, make up the largest Christian population with 84%. 

Politically speaking, while Christianity has dropped amongst both Republicans and Democrats, it is more noticeable in Democrats. In 2009, 72% of Democrats said they were Christian. Now only 55% identify as such, compared to 79% of Republicans down from 86%. 

The study also found that gender continues to play a role in religion, noting that more women identify as Christian than men, but both have become less religious over the decade. In 2009 73% of adult men said they were Christian, compared with 80% of women. Those numbers dropped to 61% and 69%, respectively, in 2019.

Despite the decline in Christianity, the rate of religious attendance has remained the same over the last 10 years with 62% of adults saying they attend a service at least once or twice a month.

Non-Christian religions held steady over the decade with Judaism remaining at 2% of the population and Islam at 1%.

Categories / Religion

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.

Loading...