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Pew Research Center Study: Percentage of U.S. Population That Identifies as Christian Continues to Drop

Although Christians continue to make up a majority of the U.S. population, the share of people affiliated with an organized religious group continues to drop, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

Self-identifying Christians make up 63% of the adult population, a number that was 12 points higher (75%) in 2011 and 6 percentage points higher (69%) just five years ago. 

About 30% of those surveyed in 2021 identified themselves as “nones,” meaning atheists, agnostics or having no particular religious affiliation.

The Protestant share of the population (40%) has declined 4 percentage points over the last five years and dropped 10 points in 10 years, the poll showed. Sixty percent of Protestants said they are “born-again or evangelical Christian,” including 58% of white Protestants and 66% of Black Protestants. 

Catholicism has held steady at about 21% of the population, while 6% of adults identify with non-Christian faiths, including Jewish (1%), Muslim (1%), Buddhist (1%), Hindu (1% ), and other faiths (2%).

Fewer than half of the adults surveyed (45%) said they pray every day, although 79% of born-again/evangelical Protestants said they pray daily, including 76% of White evangelicals and 81% of Black evangelicals.

About one-third of U.S. adults (32%) said they seldom or never pray.

About 31% of those polled said they attend religious services at least once or twice a month, including 25% who say they attend at least once a week.

Pew said that while it is more difficult to measure long-term trends regarding the share of U.S. adults who say religion is an important part of their lives, “the available data indicates that Americans are growing less religious by this measure, too.”

The data shows 41% of U.S. adults think religion is “very important” in their lives, 4 points lower than in 2020.

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.