While the Christian share of the U.S. population is falling, it is more racially and ethnically diverse than ever—a mirror of American citizens, according to a new Pew Research Center study.
Racial and ethnic minorities in 2014 made up 41 percent of Catholics, up from 35 percent in 2007; 24 percent of evangelical Protestants, up from 19 percent; and 14 percent of so-called mainline Protestants, up from 9 percent, says the report, which is the Center’s second U.S. Religious Landscape Study, a follow-up to its first comprehensive study of religion in America, conducted in 2007.
The Christian share of the U.S. population is falling, the result of a rising number of adults who do not identify with any organized religion and belief in other faiths, the report says.
While the fall in Christian affiliation is most pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages, the report says. The changes are occurring among all demographics, including race, creed, sex, and education levels.
Researchers attribute the fall to decreasing numbers of mainline Protestants and Catholics, which have fallen by about three percentage points since 2007. The evangelical Protestant share of the U.S. population also has dipped, but at a slower rate, falling by about one percentage point since 2007.
From the Pew Research Center:
To be sure, the United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world, and a large majority of Americans – roughly seven-in-ten – continue to identify with some branch of the Christian faith…
Religious intermarriage also appears to be on the rise: Among Americans who have gotten married since 2010, nearly four-in-ten (39 percent) report that they are in religiously mixed marriages, compared with 19 percent among those who got married before 1960. The rise in intermarriage appears to be linked with the growth of the religiously unaffiliated population. Nearly one-in-five people surveyed who got married since 2010 are either religiously unaffiliated respondents who married a Christian spouse or Christians who married an unaffiliated spouse. By contrast, just 5% of people who got married before 1960 fit this profile.
The findings come as organized religion, namely Christianity in the U.S., has taken a hit in recent years amid high-profile gaffes by some church leaders, including a recent one by Creflo Dollar, minister of World Changers Church International in Atlanta. Dollar came under fire in March after asking parishioners to donate money so he could buy a private jet. He eventually pulled the donation page amid the uproar.
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SOURCE: Pew Research Center | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty