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A more secular nation: Share of non-religious Americans hits all-time high; Christians drop again

The Furnace
Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) this week decried the "attitude of lawlessness" plaguing the county as reflected in the spate of "smash and grab" robberies in her home state of California. And though she didn't mention it, the nation is also seeing spikes in violent crime in major cities.

Despite admitting that there's a problem, Pelosi declared she had no idea where the problem could be coming from.

Is it possible that the current moral morass the U.S. finds itself in is connected to fewer people having respect for or understanding of who God is?

A report from the Pew Research Center posted this week revealed that the share of Americans who identify as "religiously unaffiliated" has hit an all-time high and the share of self-identifying Christians has dropped to an all-time low.

According to Pew, 29% of U.S. adults consider themselves religious "nones" — meaning they are agnostics, atheists, or "nothing in particular." That's a six-point jump from just five years ago and a 10-point hike from a decade before.

And there wasn't just a jump in the non-religious population. The share of Americans who ID as Christians — which includes Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and Orthodox for Pew's purposes — dropped to 63%. That's a 12-point fall from 2011.

The ratio of Christians to "nones" has changed markedly since 2007, when Christians outnumbered the non-religious 78% to 16%.

Chart showing that in U.S., roughly three-in-ten adults now religiously unaffiliated

A big reason for that is the significant drop in the share of U.S. Protestants.

In 2007, more than half of American Christians identified as Protestant; today, just 40% of Christians say the same.

Within Christianity, recent declines concentrated in Protestantism

This growing lack of faith has seen the share of adults who pray daily drop from 58% in 2007 to just 45% today. For those who believe prayer changes things, this seems a pretty significant stat.

Fewer than half of U.S. adults pray daily

Add to that the fact that only a quarter of adults say they go to church at least once a week to get fed, and some observers just might start to say they see a connection between faith practices and the pattern of crime that even Nancy Pelosi is admitting is a problem.

A quarter of U.S. adults say they attend religious services at least weekly

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