Fewer Americans identify as Christian, a Pew Research Study recently found. While the change in affiliations crosses nearly all demographics, the Millennial generation appears to be driving the growth.
More than 35,000 Americans were surveyed for Pew Research Center’s 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study. The data, from 2007 to 2014, found that while the U.S. is still overwhelmingly Christian (about 7 in 10 Americans), the number of those who consider themselves Christian fell to 70.6 percent from 78.4 percent, and the number of those who are not affiliated with any religion rose percent to 22.8 percent from 16.1 since 2007. Within Christianity, the number of mainline Protestants and Catholics both fell 3.4 and 3.1 percent respectively, while the number of evangelicals rose slightly. The share of those who are affiliated with non-Christian faiths — including Muslims and Hindus — has risen slightly since 2007, to 5.9 percent from 4.7 percent, the study found.
Pew also found that the drop in Christian-affiliated Americans crossed nearly all demographics. The pattern could be seen across all genders, races and education levels. However, one demographic that stood out was an group. As Millennials replace previous generations, they bring with them their low religious affiliation: 34 percent of older Millennials and 36 percent of younger Millennials consider themselves religiously unaffiliated.
At the same time, Millennials are not the only age group to be losing their religious affiliations. “people in older generations are increasingly disavowing association with organized religion,” the report read. “Nearly a quarter of Generation Xers now say they have no particular religion or describe themselves as atheists or agnostics, up four points in seven years. Baby Boomers also have become slightly but noticeably more likely to identify as religious ‘nones’ in recent years.”