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Monday, March 16, 2009

America's Shifting Religious Identity

If you are anything like me, you probably wake up to your own personal subscription list of your favorite blogs on the net. And this morning, in particular, the topic of all the religious blogs centers on the staggering survey results conducted by the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS). As the USA Today report states:

When it comes to religion, the USA is now land of the freelancers. The percentage of people who call themselves in some way Christian has dropped more than 11% in a generation. The faithful have scattered out of their traditional bases: The Bible Belt is less Baptist. The Rust Belt is less Catholic. And everywhere, more people are exploring spiritual frontiers — or falling off the faith map completely.

These dramatic shifts in just 18 years are detailed in the new American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), to be released today. It finds that, despite growth and immigration that has added nearly 50 million adults to the U.S. population, almost all religious denominations have lost ground since the first ARIS survey in 1990.
And as the following graph indicates, those who identify themselves as having "no religion" are up in EVERY SINGLE STATE:

Of course this is nothing new. The current religious landscape of America would be virtually unrecognizable by our founders, who were accustomed to a nation with very few Catholics and a concentration of Episcopalian, Quaker and Congregational denominations.

For more graphs demonstrating the decline in religious belief click here.

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