White Christians are no longer the majority of the population in the United States, according to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute.
Once the largest group in the United States, PRRI found that white Christians now make up less than half of the adults living in the country. In addition, less than half of states have majority white Christian populations.
“Today, only 43 percent of Americans identify as white and Christian, and only 30 percent as white and Protestant,” PRRI said. “In 1976, roughly eight in ten (81 percent) Americans identified as white and identified with a Christian denomination, and a majority (55 percent) were white Protestants.”
Since 2006, the percentage of white Protestants in the United States fell by 6 percent, going from 23 percent of the country to 17 percent today.
White Catholics have also seen a 5 percent drop, falling from 16 percent in 2006 to 11 percent today.
But Christianity is still the most dominant religion by a substantial margin, according to the PRRI survey. While white Christians make up 44 percent of the overall population, nonwhite Christians add 24 percent, bringing the total Christian population to 68 percent.
No other organized religion exceeds more than 2 percent of the population, with Jews accounting for that number. Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus make up 1 percent each.
The largest non-Christian category is “unaffiliated” – those who identify as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – making up 24 percent of the population. And that number has risen a great deal in the past 40 years, going from 7 percent in 1976 to nearly a quarter of the population today.
That number will likely continue to rise, given that 38 percent of 18 to 29-year-old Americans identify with this category.
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