Non-Religious Population Is Soaring in America

Eric Zuesse

The Pew Research Center on Religion & Public Life is reporting, in their poll of 35,000 Americans, that during the seven years from 2007 to 2014, the numbers of religiously “Unaffiliated” were soaring, the numbers of Christians were plunging, and the numbers of adherents to non-Christian faiths were rising substantially but not nearly as much as were the numbers of “Unaffiliated.”

This report, issued on May 12th, is headlined, “America’s Changing Religious Landscape: Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; Unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow.” 

It shows that: the percentage of Americans who are unaffiliated rose from 16.1% in 2007 up to 22.8% today, or a 6.7% rise from that 16.1% base. Dividing 6.7%/16.1%, there are 42% more Americans who are religiously unaffiliated today than was the case seven years ago. During this same period, there are 10% fewer Christians; and it breaks down as 2% less Evangelical Protestants, 13% less Catholics, and 19% less Mainline Protestants. Meanwhile, there are 26% more Americans who are of Non-Christian Faiths. So: all of that 42% increase in unaffiliated Americans were previously Christians; none of the increase came from non-Christian faiths.

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The U.S. population during that 7-year period grew from 227 million to 245 million; so, another way of looking at the data is that whereas there were around 178 million Christians in America in 2007, there are now around 173 million Christians. And whereas there were around 37 million unaffiliateds in 2007, there are around 56 million unaffiliateds today. During those seven years, there are 18 million more Americans, and 19 million more unaffiliated Americans.

America is becoming a less religous, and a more religiously diverse, country.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.