The Rise of the Non-Religious
The release of the American Religious Identification Survey has caused a flood of media and blog activity. Researchers at the Trinity College in Hartford, CT surveyed more than 54,461 people between February and November 2008. They found that the percentage of Americans identifying themselves as Christians has dropped from 86 percent in 1990 to 76 percent today.
The report expounded upon this sharp decline:
Ninety percent of the decline comes from the non-Catholic segment of the Christian population, largely from the mainline denominations, including Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians/Anglicans, and the United Church of Christ.
One of the key findings in the study referred to those who claim no religion: The percentage of Americans claiming no religion has increased from 8.2 percent in 1990 to 14.2 percent in 2001 to 15 percent presently. This rise of the non-religious has occurred in every state of the Union.
This study is yet another that demonstrates the decline of denominationalism. Most every major denomination has declined, but the rise of “non-denominational” ties is increasing:
Most of the growth in the Christian population occurred among those who would identify only as “Christian,” “Evangelical/Born Again,” or “non-denominational Christian.” The last of these, associated with the growth of megachurches, has increased from less than 200,000 in 1990 to 2.5 million in 2001 to over 8 million today. These groups grew from 5 percent of the population in 1990 to 8.5 percent in 2001 to 11.8 percent in 2008.