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Pew poll: Number of Americans who identify as Christian further declines

Pew poll: Number of Americans who identify as Christian further declines
A man walks past St. John's Church in Washington, D.C., on June 1, 2020. A Pew poll found that while Christianity is still the dominant religion in the United States, fewer people identify as Christians compared to previous years. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The percentage of Americans who identify as Christian dropped 15% over the past 14 years, while those who consider themselves religiously unaffiliated increased by 14%, a Pew study released Tuesday indicates.

Pew's National Public Opinion Reference Survey found that the majority of Americans -- 63% -- consider themselves Christian, down from 78% in 2007. Meanwhile, 29% of adults list their religion as "none," meaning they consider themselves atheist, agnostic or "nothing in particular." That figure has increased since 2007, when 16% said they have no religion.

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Six percent of Americans identify with other religions, up from 5% in 2007.

With the growing shift away from Christianity and toward no particular religion, Christians outnumber the latter by two-to-one, down from five-to-one in 2007.

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Among Christians, the largest decline has taken place within protestantism. Forty percent consider themselves to be protestant, down from 52%. Those who identify as Catholic make up 21% of Christians, down from 24%. Those who are Orthodox Christian and Mormon remained unchanged from 2007 at 1% and 2%, respectively.

Daily prayer has also been on the decline, according to the poll. In 2021, 45% of respondents said they pray daily, down from 58% in 2007. Thirty-two percent say they pray weekly or monthly and 22% say they pray seldom or never.

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The poll found that 41% of Americans consider religion "very important" in their lives, down from 56% in 2007. Pew said this figure has had a sharper decline over the past 10 years when Pew switched to a self-administered survey from interviewer-administered surveys. Thirty-three percent of Americans said religion isn't too, or is not at all, important to them, while 26% say it's somewhat important to them.

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