Christians Decline as Share how to make a case study report U.
Non-Hispanic whites report account for study shares of evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics make how did seven years earlier, while Hispanics have grown as a share to all three religious groups. Case data on religious groups in the U. These are among the key findings of the Pew Research Center’s second U. Religious Landscape Study, a follow-a to its first comprehensive study of religion in America, conducted in 2007.
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Americans about their religion, there are no official government statistics on the religious composition of the U. 5 Some Christian denominations and other religious bodies keep their own rolls, but they use widely differing criteria for membership and sometimes do not remove members who have fallen away. The Religious Landscape Studies were designed to fill the gap. Comparing two virtually identical surveys, conducted seven years apart, can bring important trends into sharp relief.
The latest survey was conducted in English and Spanish among a nationally representative sample of 35,071 adults interviewed by telephone, on both cellphones and landlines, from June 4-Sept. Findings based on the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 0. Even a very small margin of error, when applied to the hundreds of millions of people living in the United States, can yield a wide range of estimates for the size of particular faiths. Nevertheless, the results of the second Religious Landscape Study indicate that Christians probably have lost ground, not only in their relative share of the U.
Catholics, for instance, are defined as all respondents who say they are Catholic, regardless of their specific beliefs and whether or not they attend Mass regularly. The unaffiliated are generally less religiously observant than people who identify with a religion. In fact, many people who are unaffiliated with a religion believe in God, pray at least occasionally and think of themselves as spiritual people. For more details on the exact questions used to measure religious identity, see the survey topline.
For more on how Protestant respondents were grouped into particular religious traditions, see Appendix B. This decline is larger than the combined margins of sampling error in the twin surveys conducted seven years apart. Using the margins of error to calculate a probable range of estimates, it appears that the number of Christian adults in the U. As the shifting religious profiles of these generational cohorts suggest, switching religion is a common occurrence in the United States. American adults currently have a religious identity different from the one in which they were raised. Both the mainline and historically black Protestant traditions have lost more members than they have gained through religious switching, but within Christianity the greatest net losses, by far, have been experienced by Catholics.
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