Dramatic Increase in Religiously Unaffiliated as Protestants Lose Majority Status

Why religious leaders aren't terribly troubled by the news.
Dramatic Increase in Religiously Unaffiliated as Protestants Lose Majority Status
Dramatic Increase in Religiously Unaffiliated as Protestants Lose Majority Status

The religiously unaffiliated are on the rise.

Just under 20 percent of all Americans do not identify with any particular religion, according to a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life report released Tuesday, titled "'Nones' on the Rise." And as that share of the population, up from 15 percent in 2007, continues to rise, the study also reports that the Protestant share, including mainline and evangelical, has dipped below the 50-percent mark for the first time.

"These numbers don't in any way suggest that religion is dying out in America," said Kim Lawton, managing editor of Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly, which partnered with the Pew Forum to produce part of the report. "This is a picture of what we found, but it's not a predictor of the future."

According to the report, 53 percent of respondents said they were Protestant in 2007, but only 48 percent identified as such in 2012. The decline comes primarily from white evangelical and ...

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