The notion of America as a mostly white, mostly Christian country is rapidly becoming a fact for the history books.
“The U.S. religious landscape is undergoing a dramatic transformation that is fundamentally reshaping American politics and culture,” says Dan Cox, research director for Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI).
Last week, PRRI released the American Values Atlas (AVA), an interactive online tool that compiles data about Americans’ opinions, identities, and values. One of the biggest takeaways of this years’ study was that, for the first time ever, America is not a majority Protestant nation. Part of this shift is due to the growing number of religiously unaffiliated Americans, now at 22 percent nationally and 34 percent of young people.
The study also revealed that in 19 states, “white Christians” are now a minority group. The list of states where this is the case includes a few surprises. Several Southern and “Bible belt” states such as Georgia (#16) made the list, and Texas (#7) had the same population of white Christians as New York (#5). While one might want to blame these shifts on “secularism,” one force at work seems to be America’s increasing ethnic diversity. According to PRRI, Hispanic Catholics are a growing proportion of Catholics and evangelical Protestants are becoming less white.
SOURCE: Jonathan Merritt
Religion News Service