Dating other religions
And evangelical Protestants, while declining slightly as a percentage of the U. public, probably have grown in absolute numbers as the overall U. That is an increase of roughly 2 million since 2007, though once the margins of error are taken into account, it is possible that the number of evangelicals may have risen by as many as 5 million or remained essentially unchanged.
Like mainline Protestants, Catholics appear to be declining both as a percentage of the population and in absolute numbers. But taking margins of error into account, the decline in the number of Catholic adults could be as modest as 1 million.
These are among the key findings of the Pew Research Center’s second U. Religious Landscape Study, a follow-up to its first comprehensive study of religion in America, conducted in 2007. Comparing two virtually identical surveys, conducted seven years apart, can bring important trends into sharp relief.
In addition, the very large samples in both 20 included hundreds of interviews with people from small religious groups that account for just 1% or 2% of the U. population, such as Mormons, Episcopalians and Seventh-day Adventists.
By contrast, just 5% of people who got married before 1960 fit this profile. As a rising cohort of highly unaffiliated Millennials reaches adulthood, the median age of unaffiliated adults has dropped to 36, down from 38 in 2007 and far lower than the general (adult) population’s median age of 46. Surveys of the general public frequently include a few questions about religious affiliation, but they typically do not interview enough people, or ask sufficiently detailed questions, to be able to describe the country’s full religious landscape.
By contrast, the median age of mainline Protestant adults in the new survey is 52 (up from 50 in 2007), and the median age of Catholic adults is 49 (up from 45 seven years earlier). census does not ask Americans about their religion, there are no official government statistics on the religious composition of the U. The Religious Landscape Studies were designed to fill the gap.
Nearly one-in-five people surveyed who got married since 2010 are either religiously unaffiliated respondents who married a Christian spouse or Christians who married an unaffiliated spouse.This decline is larger than the combined margins of sampling error in the twin surveys conducted seven years apart.Using the margins of error to calculate a probable range of estimates, it appears that the number of Christian adults in the U. has shrunk by somewhere between 2.8 million and 7.8 million.The new survey indicates there are about 51 million Catholic adults in the U. And, unlike Protestants, who have been decreasing as a share of the U. public for several decades, the Catholic share of the population has been relatively stable over the long term, according to a variety of other surveys (see Appendix C).Meanwhile, the number of religiously unaffiliated adults has increased by roughly 19 million since 2007.