Religion News Service reports:
America has long prided itself on being a country where people can choose whatever religion they like. The majority has long chosen Christianity. By 2070, that may no longer be the case. If current trends continue, Christians could make up less than half of the population — and as little as a third— in 50 years.
Meanwhile, the so-called nones — or the religiously unaffiliated — could make up close to half of the population. And the percentage of Americans who identify as Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and other non-Christian faiths could double.
Those are among the major findings of a new report from the Pew Research Center regarding America’s religious future—a future where Christianity, though diminished, persists while non-Christian faiths grow amid rising secularization.
Pew Research reports:
The Center estimates that in 2020, about 64% of Americans, including children, were Christian. People who are religiously unaffiliated, sometimes called religious “nones,” accounted for 30% of the U.S. population. Adherents of all other religions – including Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists – totaled about 6%.
Depending on whether religious switching continues at recent rates, speeds up or stops entirely, the projections show Christians of all ages shrinking from 64% to between a little more than half (54%) and just above one-third (35%) of all Americans by 2070.
Over that same period, “nones” would rise from the current 30% to somewhere between 34% and 52% of the U.S. population.
Christianity Today reports:
Analyzing surveys about religious identity and religious “switching” going back to 1972 and trying to project the American religious landscape out to the year 2070, they can’t say what demographic signs might indicate a coming swell of conversions.
“We’ve never seen it, and we don’t have the data to model a religious reversal,” Pew senior researcher Stephanie Kramer told CT. “There are some who say that revival never happens in an advanced economy. After secularization, you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube. But we don’t know that. We just don’t have the data.”
The data they do have, from 50 years of research by the General Social Survey and Pew’s own survey of 15,000 adults, indicates the current trend is inexorable. People are giving up on Christianity. They will continue to do so.
If you’re trying to predict the future religious landscape in America, according to Pew, the question is not whether Christianity will decline.
It’s how fast and how far. https://t.co/AGGobviWyk
— Daniel Silliman (@danielsilliman) September 13, 2022
Some fascinating projections in this new Pew Report. Nones may become a majority by 2070– in part because they are younger than Christians in the US. And immigration will likely lead to more religious diversity –https://t.co/gHXbnett0f
— Bob Smietana (@bobsmietana) September 13, 2022