The Number of Non-religious Individuals is Growing in America, Especially Among the Young
Recent studies show that America is becoming less religious.
The number of Americans who report that they aren't religious continues to grow rather quickly. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that 65% of us describe ourselves as Christians, still a majority, but down 12 points over the past decade. Some among the other 35% follow other religions, but 26% say they are atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular, an increase of 9% from 2009.”
This decline in religious affiliation is most noticeable among millennials. Research by PRRI in 2016 found that 39% of Americans aged 18-29 had no religious affiliation. Some of these young people aren't atheists; they simply don't trust or respect organized religion.
This trend is also showing up in church attendance studies. Today, only half of Americans are members of a church, down from 70%, just 20 years ago.
The reasons for these declines are complex and probably include a number of factors working together. Those include the rise of religiously mixed households, the Catholic priest abuse scandal and similar allegations of sexual abuse by Southern Baptist clergy, the political stridency of right-wing evangelicals, rising educational attainment, and the treatment of the LBGT community by some Christian denominations. Conservative Christians often point to other things such as the teaching of evolution and the "big bang" theory in the public schools.
It's difficult to say what the long term ramifications of these trends will be, but Europe went through an even more rapid religious decline in the 20th century without negative consequences.
By Don Lam & Curated Content