A new survey by the Pew Research Institute concluded that the religiously unaffiliated share of the US public is 6 percentage points higher than it was five years ago and 10 points higher than a decade ago, indicating that the US trend towards secularization is continuing at a fast pace.
The survey showed that people who self-identified as Christians (including Protestants, Catholics, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Orthodox Christians) make up 63% of the adult population. Though this is an absolute majority, it has dropped twelve points in the last decade.
29% of Americans identified as “nones” ( people who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics, or “nothing in particular”). Though affiliated Christians currently outnumber “nones” by more than three-to-one, in 20017, when Pew first began to ask this question, this ratio stood at almost five-to-one (78% vs. 16%).
“If the unaffiliated were a religion, they’d be the largest religious group in the United States,” Elizabeth Drescher, an adjunct professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University, told The Associated Press.
Protestantism has dropped four percentage points in five years to 40% and ten points in the past decade. Catholicism held steady at 21% after a long period of slow decline.
Currently, 60% of Protestants say “yes” when asked whether they think of themselves as a “born-again or evangelical Christian,” while 40% say “no” or decline to answer the question.
Twenty-seven percent of Americans said they never attend religious services, and nearly a third seldom or never pray. Fewer than half pray daily today.
Non-Christian faiths, including Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus, make up about 6% of the American adult population in 2021.
In a similar survey in March, a Gallup poll found that only 47% of U.S. adults were members of a church, synagogue, or mosque, the first time that number had ever fallen below the 50% mark. Church membership was 73% when Gallup first measured it in 1937 and remained near 70% for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline around the turn of the 21st century. This dropped to 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999.