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Report: Christianity declining in America at 'rapid pace'

A growing lack of faith

Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Christianity in America is declining at a "rapid pace," according to startling new analysis from The Pew Research Center.

The report found that the majority of Americans — 65 percent — still describe themselves as Christians, though the proportion has significantly fallen by 12 percentage points over the past decade.

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At the same time, 26 percent of Americans now call themselves atheists, agnostics, or no religion in particular (a collective group known as the "nones"), up 9 percentage points since 2009.

In U.S., smaller share of adults identify as Christians, while religious 'nones' have grown

While atheists account for just 4 percent of all Americans, their representation is also up significantly from 2 percent in 2009.

It's important to note that atheists, agnostics and unaffiliated Americans are generally lumped into the "nones" category, but the largest cohort under this umbrella are people who have simply said they are "nothing in particular."

This latter group is up from 12 percent in 2009 to 17 percent in the latest Pew report.

Protestants and Catholics shrinking as share of U.S. population; all subsets of 'nones' are growing

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One of the report's most telling findings is a massive generation gap on the religious allegiance front — one that is intensifying.

While 84 percent of respondents in the Silent Generation (aged 74 to 91) and 76 percent of Baby Boomers (aged 55 to 71) are Christians, just 49 percent of Millennials (aged 23 to 38) agree.

Large generation gap in American religion

But it's not only self-described affiliation that is changing.

Church attendance is also on the decline, with more Americans (54 percent) now saying they attend religious services only a few times each year or less; 45 percent said they attend at least monthly.

In U.S., church attendance is declining

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This data is sure to ignite further discussion about the future of faith in America. One additional point worth noting is that self-described allegiance to faith and actually living out faith can, in practice, be very different dynamics.

This is an issue that is certain to get more attention in the coming years as cultural transformation forges on.

The latest Pew report is based on 88 surveys of 168,890 American adults over the past decade. Read the report in its entirety here.

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free, one-month trial here.

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