White Christians now less than half of U.S. population

Manuel Balce Ceneta, K.M. Chaudary, Kevin Frayer, Sakchai Lalit / AP

White Christians now make up only 43% of the American population, according to a survey of 101,000 Americans by PRRI. The share of those who claim to be unaffiliated with religion has grown to 24%, up from a low of 6% in 1991, and 38% of young Americans (18-30) say they are unaffiliated.

Why it matters: This is a dramatic demographic change in the U.S., which has been dominated historically by white protestant Christians. In 1976, 81% of Americans identified as white and Christian with 55% claiming Protestantism. Now those numbers are 43% and 30%, and this trend is likely to continue, as the younger generations are increasingly less likely to identify as white and Christian and more likely to identify as unaffiliated.