The percentage of Americans identifying themselves as “born again” or evangelical Christians has grown, according to a survey for the Princeton Religion Research Center.

In a poll conducted for the Princeton, New Jersey, center by the Gallup Organization, 38 percent of 1,236 adult Americans polled identified themselves as born-again or evangelical—up from the 33 percent recorded in 1988 and the 35 percent recorded in 1978.

According to the poll, born-again or evangelical Christians are most likely to live in the South, where half the adult population describes itself in those terms. Other groups with heavy concentrations of born-again or evangelical Christians include blacks, persons who did not graduate from college, and persons with incomes under $30,000.

Protestants are three times as likely to describe themselves in those terms as are Catholics.

Forty-one percent of the women and 36 percent of the men identified themselves as born-again or evangelical.

Other survey findings show that:

• More people believe the influence of religion is declining than believe it is increasing. The poll showed that 48 percent of the adult population believes the influence of religion is declining, while 33 percent believe it is increasing. Others either have no opinion or believe religion’s influence has remained constant. The higher the income level of the respondents, the less likely they were to believe religion’s influence is increasing.

• The proportion of people who believe in an afterlife, 77 percent, remains unchanged since the question was last asked by the Gallup organization in 1981. Belief in a life after death is highest among adults aged 30 to 49, at 74 percent. By education level, persons least likely to believe in an afterlife are those who did not graduate from high school.

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