Oct 18, 2019

Americans are increasingly shedding their religious affiliations

Symbols for the 3 religions Christianity, Islam and Judaism

Photo: Hanan Isachar/Getty Images

The share of Americans with no religious affiliation is rising significantly in tandem with a sharp drop in the percentage that identifies as Christians, reports AP, based on data from the Pew Research Center.

The big picture: Many of the country's biggest religious institutions are mired in upheaval and scandal, as well as criticized for failing to adapt to modern norms, further alienating potential attendees.

  • The Catholic Church and Southern Baptist Convention are both facing ongoing sex abuse scandals.
  • The United Methodist Church, which comprises the largest group of Protestants in the U.S., is facing a possible schism over the inclusion of LGBTQ in its community.

By the numbers: Pew said 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christian, down from 77% in 2009, based on telephone surveys from 2018 and 2019.

  • The percentage of people who identify as atheist, agnostic or "nothing in particular," often referred to as the "nones," stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.
  • 43% of U.S. adults identify as Protestant, compared to 51% in 2009.
  • 20% of U.S. adults identify as Catholic, compared to 23% in 2009.

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