Survey: Religion Shrinks in US

Most groups lose members; Christianity falls 11%
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 9, 2009 7:00 AM CDT
Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl celebrates Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at Saint Bernard Church in Riverdale, Md., Friday, Dec. 12, 2008.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
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(Newser) – A new survey shows sweeping changes in US religious attitudes over the past 18 years, with most religions losing members despite population growth, USA Today reports. Those identifying themselves as Christians have dropped 11% in a generation; mobility and marriage patterns have uprooted many religious affiliations. “More than ever before, people are just making up their own stories of who they are,” says a co-author.

“Religion has become more like a fashion statement, not a deep personal commitment for many,” he adds. Other facts:

  • Americans with no religion are now the biggest group below Catholics and Baptists.
  • Baptists are down to 15.8% of those surveyed, from 19.3% in 1990.
  • Jews have dropped from 1.8% to 1.2% in 1990.
  • Muslims have climbed from 0.3% to 0.6%.
  • Some 2.8 million call themselves Wiccan, pagan, or Spiritualist.