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Photo © Christos Georghiou - Fotolia

Like cable TV, the Christian faith is losing adherents though at a much slower rate than the cord-cutting phenomenon, according to Gallup. 

This Christmas Eve finds more than three-quarters of Americans identify with a Christian relgion, little changed from 2014, but down from 80% eight years ago. About 5% of Americans identify with a non-Christian religion, while 20% have no formal religious identification, which is up five percentage points since 2008.

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These results are based on interviews conducted each year since 2008 as part of Gallup Daily tracking. The general trends in the data over this eight-year period are clear: As the percentage of Americans identifying with a Christian religion has decreased, the percentage with no formal religious identification has increased. The small percentage of Americans who identify with a non-Christian religion has been essentially constant over this time period.

In Gallup surveys in the 1950s, over 90% of the adult population identified as Christian, with only a small percentage claiming no religious identification at all or identifying with a non-Christian religion.

Despite these changes, America remains a predominantly Christian nation, with 94% of those who identify with a religion saying they are Christian.

Age differences

The percentage of Christians is highest among older Americans and decreases with each progressively younger age group. This trend reflects the high number of "nones" -- those without a formal religious identity -- in the younger generations, as well as a higher proportion of non-Christians among them.

PhotoOne key to the future of Christian representation in the U.S. population will be shifts in the religious identification of today's youngest cohorts, Gallup said. Traditionally, Americans have become more likely to identify with a religion as they age through their 30s and 40s and get married and have children. If this pattern does not occur in the same way it has in the past, the percentage of Christians nationwide will likely continue to shrink.


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