Modeling the Future of Religion in America

Since the 1990s, a large number of Americans have left Christianity to join the growing ranks of U.S. adults who identify as atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular.” This accelerating trend is reshaping the U.S. religious landscape, leaving many people to wonder what the future of religion in America might look like.카지노사이트

What if Christians continue to abandon religion at the same rate as in recent years? What if the rate of religious conversion continues to rise? What if switching stopped, but other demographic trends, such as migration, births, and deaths, continued at their current rates? To help answer such questions, the Pew Research Center created several hypothetical scenarios describing how the religious landscape in the United States might change over the next half-century.

According to the Center, approximately 64% of Americans, including children, will be Christian by 2020. People who are religiously unaffiliated, also known as religious “nones,” made up 30% of the U.S. population. All other religions, including Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists, accounted for about 6% of the population.1

Depending on whether religious switching continues at current rates, accelerates, or stops entirely, projections show Christians of all ages falling from 64% to between slightly more than half (54%) and slightly more than one-third (35%) of all Americans by 2070. Over the same time period, “nones” would rise from 30% to between 34% and 52% of the US population.

However, these are not the only possibilities, nor are they predictions of what will occur. Rather, this study presents formal demographic projections of what might happen under a few illustrative scenarios based on trends revealed by decades of Pew Research Center and General Social Survey survey data.바카라사이트

All projections begin with the current religious composition of the US population, accounting for religious differences by age and gender. They then take into account birth rates and migration patterns. Most importantly, they incorporate varying rates of religious switching – movement into and out of broad categories of religious identity – to simulate what the religious landscape in the United States would look like if switching continued at its current rate, accelerated (as it has since the 1990s), or abruptly ceased.

Switching rates are calculated using patterns observed in recent decades up to 2019. For example, we estimate that 31% of people raised Christian become unaffiliated between the ages of 15 and 29, when religious switching is most prevalent.2 An additional 7% of people raised Christian become unaffiliated later in life, after the age of 30.

While the extent of religious disaffiliation projected by the scenarios in this report varies, they all show Christians continuing to shrink as a share of the U.S. population, even if all switching came to a halt in 2020. Simultaneously, the unaffiliated are expected to grow in all four scenarios.

Non-Christian religions would account for 12%-13% of the population in each of the four scenarios, more than doubling their current share. This consistency does not imply greater certainty or precision when compared to projections for Christians and “nones.” Rather, the future of migration (rather than religious switching) is likely to determine the growth of other religions, and migration patterns are held constant across all four scenarios. (For a different scenario involving migration, see Chapter 2.)

Of course, events outside the study’s model, such as war, economic depression, climate change, changing immigration patterns, or religious innovations, could reverse current religious switching trends, resulting in a revival of Christianity in the United States. However, there are currently no switching patterns in the United States that can be factored into mathematical models to project such a result.

None of these hypothetical scenarios are guaranteed to occur exactly as modeled, but they show how much of an impact switching could have on the overall religious composition of the population within a few decades. The four main scenarios, together with the four alternatives outlined in Chapter 2, show that adult religious switching rates appear to have a far greater impact on the overall religious composition of the United States than other factors that can drive changes in affiliation over time, such as fertility rates and intergenerational transmission (i.e., how many parents pass their religion to their children).

The rise of the “nones” and the decline of Christianity may have complex causes and far-reaching consequences for politics, family life, and civil society. The focus of this report, however, is not on theories about the root causes of religious change or speculation about its societal impact. The main contribution of this study is to examine recent trends and show how the religious landscape in the United States would change if they continued.온라인카지노

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