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In US, decline of Christianity continues at rapid pace

October 18, 2019

A new study by the Pew Forum finds a steep decline in the number of Americans who identify themselves as Christians, and a similar drop in the number of Americans who identify themselves as Catholic.

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“65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade,” according to the report. 43% of Americans now identify themselves as Protestants, 20% as Catholics, and 26% as atheist (4%), agnostic (5%), or “nothing in particular” (17%).

One in five American adults (20%) are Catholic, down from nearly one in four (24%) just twelve years ago.

Perhaps even more striking is the drop in the percentage of Hispanic Americans who are Catholic: from 57% to 47% in the past ten years, so that for the first time, a minority of Hispanic American adults are Catholic. Among Hispanics, the percentage belonging to Protestant denominations held roughly steady, while the unaffiliated number grew.

The Pew data show a strong generational trend away from Christian churches. Of those adult Americans born between 1928 and 1945, 85% describe themselves as Christians; about those born between 1946 and 1964, 76%; among those born 1965 to 1980, 67%; and among those born 1981-1996, just 49%.


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  • Posted by: rpp - Oct. 23, 2019 7:55 AM ET USA

    Looks like Vatican II is having the desired effect.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Oct. 18, 2019 5:09 PM ET USA

    Thank the Catholic and secular educational systems. How about implementing a better way? "Knock, and the door will be opened to you."