On a day when we learned of the death of one of the first and best true Christian rockers, Larry Norman (at 60– rest in his arms), comes the full Pew study of shifting allegiances in religious America. Here is the link to the story—


Among the notable trends are the following:

1) More than a quarter of all Americans have left the faith of their childhood for either another religion, or no religion at all. If you count shifts between one Protestant Church and another over 44% of all Americans have changed faiths just in the last ten years or so. What this reflects is the erosion of brand name/denomination loyalties.

2) The Roman Catholic Church has shown the sharpest decline in membership in terms of people leaving that church, BUT this decline has been masked by the large influx of Hispanic population into America over the last fifteen years, the vast majority of whom are Catholic in affiliation, at least nominally.

3) Only 16% of all Americans say they have no religious affiliation at all (up from 5-8% in the 80s), and while this number is up over previous surveys, it shows just how very religious a country America is compared to European countries. The claims that America has a precipitous rise in the number of atheists is false. In fact, most of those who claimed they were unaffiliated, simply meant they were not aligned with ‘any religion in particular’, but most did not reject religion either.

4) One of the major conclusions of the study is that religion is the single most important factor shaping peoples beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes in this country.

5) If you want to see the original survey which was done in 2007, it is here—

6) The decline of Protestantism is especially notable. In the 1970 Protestants accounted for two thirds of all Americans, now it is close to 50%.

7) Evangelical Protestants now account for the majority of Protestants, but only slightly. What this reflects is the defection of mainline Protestants to more Evangelical Protestant denominations and individual churches.

8) Catholics now as before make up about 25% of all Christians in America.

9) the majority of all immigrants from any country are Christians of some sort.

10) Moslems and Mormons have the largest families of any of the religious groups in America.


More from Beliefnet and our partners