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For First Time In History, U.S. Has Fewer Evangelicals and More People Who Identify As ‘Non-Religious’

For First Time In History, U.S. Has Fewer Evangelicals and More People Who Identify As ‘Non-Religious’

Pew Research Center has released a new study that indicates organized religion doesn’t have the hold over the nation that it once had.

Self-identified Christians of all varieties (including Protestants, Catholics, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Orthodox Christians) make up 63% of the adult population. According to the new data, three in ten Americans, or roughly 29%, are categorized as religious “nones” – people who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics, or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religious identity.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Christians now outnumber religious “nones” by a ratio of a little more than two-to-one. In 2007, when the Center began asking its current question about religious identity, Christians outnumbered “nones” by almost five-to-one (78% vs. 16%).

The study also found that fewer than half of U.S. adults (45%) say they pray on a daily basis. By contrast, nearly six-in-ten (58%) reported praying daily in the 2007 Religious Landscape Study, as did 55% in the 2014 Landscape Study. Roughly one-third of U.S. adults (32%) now say they seldom or never pray, up from 18% who said this in 2007.

On the surface, these trends would seem to point to a much more liberal America, but the political deck is still stacked with Republicans who overwhelmingly lean Christian, with more Evangelicals than not.

Still, the available data indicates that Americans are growing less religious by this measure, too. Random-digit-dial (RDD) telephone surveys conducted in 2017 and 2019 found fewer U.S. adults saying religion is “very important” in their lives compared with previous telephone polls. Also, 41% of U.S. adults now say religion is “very important” in their lives, 4 points lower than the 2020 survey, and substantially lower than all of the Center’s earlier RDD readings on this question.

See the full study breakdown and results here.

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