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Thread: White Christians now less than half of U.S. population

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    Shrieking Violet Sprockey's Avatar
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    White Christians now less than half of U.S. population

    White Christians now make up only 43% of the American population, according to a survey of 101,000 Americans by PRRI. The share of those who claim to be unaffiliated with religion has grown to 24%, up from a low of 6% in 1991, and 38% of young Americans (18-30) say they are unaffiliated.

    Why it matters: This is a dramatic demographic change in the U.S., which has been dominated historically by white protestant Christians. In 1976, 81% of Americans identified as white and Christian with 55% claiming Protestantism. Now those numbers are 43% and 30%, and this trend is likely to continue, as the younger generations are increasingly less likely to identify as white and Christian and more likely to identify as unaffiliated.
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    Do you think this trend will continue? Do your kids have many religious friends?
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    Premier Sponsor Mare's Avatar
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    I definitely think it will continue. Whether other relgions fill the gap remains to be seen. I guess it depends somewhat on immigration. I don't think by any means Islam or another religion will be a majority in the US but maybe enough in some areas to affect local change.

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    Premier Sponsor Mare's Avatar
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    In my area, Catholics are the dominant religion. Lots of my kids' friends are Catholic as is my family. I've known very few "religious " Catholics though.

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    Premier Sponsor Jasmine's Avatar
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    Yes, but they still represent an overwhelming plurality.

    Non-Christian religious groups are growing, but they still represent less than one in ten Americans combined. Jewish Americans constitute 2% of the public while Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus each constitute only 1% of the public. All other non-Christian religions constitute an additional 1%.
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    Full Sponsor TapToTalk's Avatar
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    Being an unaffiliated Christian is not the same as not being Christian. The US still has Christianity deeply embedded in its psyche whether its formally practiced or the person answering the survey has chosen one of the traditional branches or not.

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    We live in the Phila suburbs, which is probably more liberal than average. But my daughter knows a lot of religious people her age. They tend to be born again/evangelical. There are a lot of Catholic people here, but they don't tend to be as religious.

    We didn't bring her up in a religion, so it's not like she's meeting them at church. There was a significant % of her high school who was very religious and conservative.
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    Full Sponsor RealCranky's Avatar
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    My kids have lots of religious friends, which is not surprising since my son-in-law is a minister, I guess. But we live in a pretty religious area. And lots of black people are religious, too.

    I actually think that Christianity "works" best as an outsider religion, so I'm just fine with the trend of it not being the default.
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    Moderator Shaena's Avatar
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    When I think Christian, I don't think of Catholics as much as I immediately think protestant. If you asked me what religion I am I would not say Christian, I would say Catholic. I live in a predominately Catholic area, even those not practicing, "know the lingo" so to speak.

    When I am visiting down in the southern part of the United States, it's very much christian, and very protestant leaning, whether people worship officially with a group or not, in my experience.

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    Full Sponsor maurinsky's Avatar
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    My only concern is that mainline Christianity is ceding membership to fundamentalist Christianity. I am opposed to fundamentalists of all religions.

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    Moderator purplekitty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TapToTalk View Post
    Being an unaffiliated Christian is not the same as not being Christian. The US still has Christianity deeply embedded in its psyche whether its formally practiced or the person answering the survey has chosen one of the traditional branches or not.
    Yeah. I don't think Christianity has anything to fear about losing its dominant status with regards to religion regardless of how people are self-identifying, not in the near future, at least.

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