Number of Protestants Decline While ‘No Religion’ Rises in Past 15 Years
Since 2003, the number of Americans identifying themselves as the nation's most popular religion has dropped, while those without religion has risen.
In an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 36% of Americans identify as Protestant, down from 50% in 2003. The percentage of Catholics remained the same from 2003 at 22%, while "Other Christians" rose from 11% to 14%. Overall, Christian denominations fell from 83% to 72% in the last 15 years. The drop in those identifying themselves as Protestant seems to be equally spread across the Protestant denominations like Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostalist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian and others.
On the other end of the spectrum, those who identify as either atheist, agnostic, or just simply no religious affiliation has nearly doubled, going from 12% in 2003 to 21% now. The highest numbers of those reporting no religion came from those between the ages of 18 and 29. Also, more men than women, more whites and Hispanics than African Americans, more college grads than those without a higher education degree, and more liberals than conservatives reported having no religion.
The religious and political lines have always gone hand-in-hand, with the more devout Christians leaning towards conservative political ideals. Of conservatives polled, only 12% cited having no religion, while nearly a third of liberals said they had no religion. The poll also notes that two-thirds of those who identified as not religious supported Hillary Clinton in the last election.
Overall for Evangelical white Protestants, the primary membership make up of the GOP, 48% said they were Republican, while only 14% identified as Democrat. The numbers were reversed with Muslims and Jews, with 57% and 48%, respectively, listed as Democrats, while 5% and 16% claim to be Republican.