25 February 2008

The changing American religious landscape

Here is a survey that I just found, from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

It says 25% of Americans have switched from the religion of their upbringing to another (or no) religion, and the number rises to 44% if Protestants changing denominations are counted in. Lots of other interesting findings, as follows:
  • 78% of Americans are Christians, but only 51% are Protestants, and that number is shrinking. Protestants will soon be a minority.
  • Roman Catholics lose more believers than any other religion; 10% of all Americans are ex-Catholics. Their numbers are sustained only through Latin American immigration; half of under-30 Catholics are Latinos.
  • Hindus retain the most childhood believers. Jehovah's Witnesses retain the least.
  • Most evangelicals convert from other Protestant faiths, as opposed to non-Christian faiths. Nondenominational churches are gaining, while Baptists and Methodists are losing. About 10% of all Protestants are now non-denominational.
  • Most American Buddhists are whites, and most are converts. Buddhists outnumber Muslims, in fact, though both number under 1% of the population each.
Would've loved to see more specific numbers, including numbers on Unitarian Universalism, but since a link is not provided at MSNBC, I can't find out.