Pew Pew

A parishioner sits in a pew at St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Denver in năm nhâm thìn. (John Leyba/The Denver Post/Getty Images)

Pew Research Center conducted this analysis as part of a continuing effort to track changes in the U.S. religious landscape, including shifts in Americans’ religious affiliation và observance. To do this, researchers looked at a variety of surveys conducted by the Center since 2007.

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The most recent data is from the Center’s 2020 and 2021 National Public Opinion Reference Surveys (NPORS). These surveys were conducted online and by mail aý muốn a nationally representative group of respondents recruited using address-based sampling, which ensures that nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. This year’s study was conducted from May 29 to Aug. 25, 2021.

Estimates from 2007 and 2014 come from Pew Retìm kiếm Center’s Religious Landscape Studies, which surveyed roughly 35,000 U.S. adults via telephone each year. All other estimates from 2019 & earlier come from other random-digit-dial telephone surveys, mostly the Center’s political surveys. All data is weighted to be representative sầu of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, age, education & other categories.

For more, see the methodology, which includes the questions used in this report.


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The secularizing shifts evident in American society so far in the 21st century show no signs of slowing. The latest Pew Retìm kiếm Center survey of the religious composition of the United States finds the religiously unaffiliated nội dung of the public is 6 percentage points higher than it was five sầu years ago và 10 points higher than a decade ago.

Christians continue lớn hóa trang a majority of the U.S. populace, but their giới thiệu of the adult population is 12 points lower in 2021 than it was in 2011. In addition, the chia sẻ of U.S. adults who say they pray on a daily basis has been trending downward, as has the cốt truyện who say religion is “very important” in their lives.

Currently, about three-in-ten U.S. adults (29%) are religious “nones” – people who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religious identity. Self-identified Christians of all varieties (including Protestants, Catholics, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, và Orthodox Christians) 3D 63% of the adult population. Christians now outnumber religious “nones” by a ratio of a little more than two-to-one. In 2007, when the Center began asking its current question about religious identity, Christians outnumbered “nones” by almost five-to-one (78% vs. 16%).

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The recent declines within Christianity are concentrated aao ước Protestants. Today, 40% of U.S. adults are Protestants, a group that is broadly defined khổng lồ include nondenominational Christians và people who describe themselves as “just Christian” along with Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians and members of many other denominational families. The Protestant tóm tắt of the population is down 4 percentage points over the last five years and has dropped 10 points in 10 years.

By comparison, the Catholic nói qua of the population, which had ticked downward between 2007 and 2014, has held relatively steady in recent years. As of 2021, 21% of U.S. adults describe themselves as Catholic, identical lớn the Catholic nội dung of the population in năm trước.

Within Protestantism, evangelicals continue lớn outnumber those who are not evangelical. Currently, 60% of Protestants say “yes” when asked whether they think of themselves as a “born-again or evangelical Christian,” while 40% say “no” or decline khổng lồ answer the question.

This pattern exists among both White & Blaông chồng Protestants. Amuốn White Protestants, 58% now say “yes” when asked whether they think of themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians, compared with 42% who say “no” (or decline to lớn answer the question). Ahy vọng Blaông xã Protestants, evangelicals outnumber non-evangelicals by two-to-one (66% vs. 33%).

Overall, both evangelical & non-evangelical Protestants have sầu seen their shares of the population decline as the percentage of U.S. adults who identity with Protestantism has dropped. Today, 24% of U.S. adults describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Protestants, down 6 percentage points since 2007. During the same period, there also has been a 6-point decline in the share of adults who are Protestant but not born-again or evangelical (from 22% to 16%).

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These are amuốn the key findings of the lakiểm tra National Public Opinion Reference Survey (NPORS), conducted by Pew Retìm kiếm Center from May 29 to lớn Aug. 25, 2021. NPORS is an annual survey (first done in 2020) conducted online và on paper (by mail) aý muốn a nationally representative group of respondents selected using address-based sampling from the U.S. Postal Service’s delivery sequence file. The Center uses NPORS khổng lồ produce benchmark estimates for several characteristics of the U.S. population, including Americans’ political and religious affiliations. Readers interested in additional details about NPORS can find them in the May 2021 report “How Pew Retìm kiếm Center Uses Its National Public Opinion Reference Survey (NPORS).”

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The 2021 NPORS also asked respondents how often they pray and how important religion is in their lives. Today, fewer than half of U.S. adults (45%) say they pray on a daily basis. By contrast, nearly six-in-ten (58%) reported praying daily in the 2007 Religious Landscape Study, as did 55% in the năm trước Landscape Study. Roughly one-third of U.S. adults (32%) now say they seldom or never pray, up from 18% who said this in 2007.

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The long-term trover in the nội dung of U.S. adults who say religion is an important part of their lives is a bit more difficult to measure precisely. Whereas indicators of religious identity & frequency of prayer produced by self-administered surveys (lượt thích the NPORS) can be directly compared with estimates produced by interviewer-administered surveys (like the Center’s earlier telephone surveys), self-administered surveys may produce slightly lower estimates of religion’s importance compared with interviewer-administered surveys. (For additional discussion of whether và how religious measures from telephone surveys can be compared with those from self-administered surveys, see “Measuring Religion in Pew Retìm kiếm Center’s American Trends Panel.”)

Still, the available data indicates that Americans are growing less religious by this measure, too. Random-digit-dial (RDD) telephone surveys conducted in 2017 và 2019 found fewer U.S. adults saying religion is “very important” in their lives compared with previous telephone polls. And the 2021 NPORS finds that 41% of U.S. adults now say religion is “very important” in their lives, 4 points lower than the 20đôi mươi NPORS & substantially lower than all of the Center’s earlier RDD readings on this question.

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