New research suggests that Christianity continues to decline in the US, while those without religious affiliation see a sharp rise in number.
Based on the data from Pew Research Center released on October 17, 65% of Americans identified themselves as Christians, down from 77% in 2009. Those who described themselves as atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular” has risen to 26%, from 17% over the same period.
The overall rate of religious attendance is declining not because Christians are attending church less often, but rather because there are now fewer Christians as a share of the population. —Pew Research Center
The rates of church attendance are also declining. From 2009, the share of Americans who answered that they attend religious services at least once or twice a month dropped by 7 percentage points, the same rate as those who attend religious services less often.
In addition to religious affiliation and church attendance, Pew found that there is a wide age gap in American religion. Among older Americans born between 1928 and 1945, identified as the Silent Generation, 84% of them claimed that they are Christians, while Baby Boomers’ (born from 1946-1964) share is 76%. Only half of Millennials (born between 1981-1996) described themselves as Christians.
In terms of church attendance among Millennials, 64% answered they attend religious services a few times a year or less often. The rate of those who attend worship services at least once a week and those who said they “never” attend church services are tied at 22%.
The polling firm clarified that while the numbers showed that the US is becoming less of a Christian country, “the overall rate of religious attendance is declining not because Christians are attending church less often, but rather because there are now fewer Christians as a share of the population.”
Pew is not the only group to see the trends in US Christianity. The Southern Baptist Convention reported in May its twelfth year of declining membership. The SBC revealed it has 14.8 million members in 2018, a loss of 192,000 members since 2017, reports The Times of Israel.
In the Giving USA report, it showed that giving to charitable institutions is also seeing a downward trend. According to Illinois-based Christian organization, Empty Tomb,, “Americans gave about 3% of their disposable income to churches in 1968, and less than 2.2% in 2016.”