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Christians Decreasing As More U.S. Adults Not Affiliated With Any Religion, Study Shows

Topline

The amount of people in the U.S. who identify as Christian has decreased in the last 10 years, as the amount of people who are unaffiliated with any religion has increased by nearly the same amount, according to data released Tuesday by Pew Research Center

Shontae Scott of Atlanta clutches her hands on her bible Tuesday while watching live coverage of the … [+] funeral of Coretta Scott King at the Samson’s Health and Fitness Center next to the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church February 7, 2006 in Lithonia, Georgia.


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Key Facts

According to the study, 75% of Americans identified as Christian in 2011—in 2021, that number shrunk to 63%, a 12% decrease. 

Ten years ago, roughly 18% of Americans were not affiliated with any religion, identifying as agnostic, atheist or “nothing in particular”—that number grew to 29% in 2021, an 11% increase.

Protestants experienced the largest decrease: While 51% of U.S. adults identified with the Christian denomination in 2011, only 40% did in 2021, an 11% drop. 

The amount of U.S. adults who identified as Orthodox Christians (1%) or members of the Church Of the Latter-Day Saints (2%) stayed the same throughout the decade, and people who identified as Catholic shrunk just 3%, from 24% in 2011 to 21% in 2021. 

The study also found that 41% of U.S. adults said religion was “very important” in their lives, compared to 33% who said it was not important and 25% who said it was somewhat important. 

Key Background

Americans’ disinterest in organized religion has grown this year. 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. 

Tangent

Despite the downtick in religious affiliation, many Americans were interested in receiving religious exemptions to the many vaccine mandates that were implemented this year. However, another Pew Study found that only 5% of people said their religious leaders had discouraged their followers from getting the vaccine, and 39% said their leader actually encouraged followers to get vaccinated. 

Further Reading

About Three-in-Ten U.S. Adults Are Now Religiously Unaffiliated (Pew Research Center) 

Only 5% Of Worshippers Say Religious Leaders Discouraged Covid Vaccines — Despite Growing Interest In ‘Religious Exemptions’ (Forbes)

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