Understanding America’s changing religious landscape
America is becoming less religious.
With each passing year the number of Americans who identify as atheist, agnostic or “none of the above” has increased. For traditional, mainline religions this trend is troubling. Not only does it mean empty pews on Sundays, but in some cases, it can also mean churches going bankrupt— or closing altogether.
The impact of this shift is being felt particularly hard among Judeo-Christian religions. According to recent data collected by the Pew Research Center, Protestants and Roman Catholics are losing population shares at a brisk pace. The data showed an 8 point drop in the percentage of Americans who identify as Protestant, while Catholics suffered a 3 point drop.
Overall, the percentage of Americans who identify as Christians has dropped from 77 percent in 2009 to 65 percent in 2019, according to Pew.
This trend is reflected in a significant drop in the number of Americans who say that they attend religious services at least once or twice a month, which has fallen by 7 points across the board.
“We have put more effort into reaching people in the last 10 years than we did in the first 30 years. These last 10 years people have just gotten to the point that church tends not to be as important as it used to be,” said Doug Passmore.