The latest major study on Christianity in the US shows that religion is continuing to decline at a rapid pace, according to new 2018-2019 data from the Pew Research Center released this week.
In the last decade, people who describe themselves as “Christians” have fallen by 12%.
Only 65% of American adults now describe themselves as Christians.
The number of people identifying themselves as either “nothing in particular, atheist or agnostic” has grown by 9%, to a total of 26%.
What’s concerning for the future of Christianity is that younger generations are the least religious and the trend is growing.
Millennials, born between 1981-96, make up 40% of religious “nones.”
Generation X, the generation born between 1965-80, makes up 25% of religious “nones.”
Unfortunately, the study did not include Generation Z, the generation that follows these.
But if the two previous generations are any indication, it may not be very far-fetched to assume that Generation Z might have 50 percent or higher religious “nones.”
What is most concerning for Christianity is the fact that nonreligious parents, naturally, aren’t likely to pass on religious values in the home. The challenge for the church is how and where to reach this forthcoming generation.
Based on the latest figures taken in the late 2010s, 27% of American adults said they “never” attend religious services.
This is down by 5% from the late 2000s, when the number was 18%. In the late 1980s, the number was 15%, and a decade earlier in the 1970s, the number was 11%.
Of US adults who say they only attend religious services a few times a year or less: 57% are Whites, 41% are Blacks, both down by 8% in the last decade. Hispanics are at 49%, down by five percent.
The number of men who identify as Christian is 61%, a decline of 12%.
The number of women identifying as Christian is 69%, a decline of 11%.
In the last decade, the number of Protestants dropped by 8%, while Catholics decreased by 3%.
Also of note, Catholics are no longer a majority among Hispanics in the US. Only 47% of Hispanics now identify as Catholic.
The number of people who belong to “nothing in particular” has grown by 5%, agnostics have doubled from 2% to 4%, while atheists have grown from 2% to 5%.