As we know, religious practice and affiliation has greatly declined but more importantly, religious practice and belief have changed in the U.S.. These trends can be observed and identified in the Pew Research Center’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.
For example, one trend that was identified is that belief in god has wavered: according to a Gallup survey, in 1966, 98% of Americans said they believed in God, and when Pew Research surveyed Americans in 2014, the number had dropped to 89%.
Another trend is that overall Christianity has declined and new groups have emerged. In 1948, Gallup found that about 91% of Americans identified as Christian, and in 2014, that number fell to 70.6%. Nearly one in three Americans under 35 today are religiously unaffiliated, as a whole, these “nones” make up the second largest religious group in the U.S., after evangelical Protestants.
In addition, although religious practice has declined, spirituality appears to be stronger than ever. The term “spiritual but not religious” has emerged in recent years to describe how more and more Americans identify. Even among the “nones” and there are those who say religion is important; spiritual sentiment is strong and growing. According to Pew Research, between 2007 and 2014, the percentage of atheists who said they felt a deep sense of wonder about the universe on a weekly basis rose a full 17 points from 37 to 54%.
Lastly, there has been a slow, but steady rise in non-Christian faiths in the U.S.. Pew Research predicts that by 2050, Muslims will surpass Jews as the second largest organized religious group after Christians and that Hindus will rise from 0.7% to 1.2% of the U.S. population in 2050.