The new U.S. Religious Landscape Survey from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life renders familiar territory remarkable. This poll of more than 35,000 American adults has produced a map of population centers (major religious traditions), the boundaries that separate them, and the thoroughfares that connect them. Among the highlights of the latest findings:
- Close to half (44 percent) of all Americans have changed religions or denominations at least once in their lifetimes.
- Protestants now make up just 51 percent of the population, though the total Christian population remains as high as 78 percent.
- Some 16 percent of American adults describe themselves as religiously "unaffiliated," more than twice the percentage who say they had no religious upbringing.
- In addition to contributing to religious diversity, immigration also augments the country's church rolls, as 46 percent of foreign-born adults claim Catholic identity and 24 percent claim Protestant identity.
The survey's topline summary ...1