A recent Gallup poll on religion, and particularly Christianity, in America has revealed five specific noteworthy trends.
Gallup.com reports on the findings of the poll, which overall revealed that, at least for the short-term, Americans are becoming less religious.
1. The poll found that while America remains a predominantly Christian nation overall, it is becoming less so than in years past.
While seventy-four percent of Americans identify as Christians, this is down six points from 2008. Also, those who who do not identify with any religion–so-called “nones–have increased by six points since 2008.
Back in the 1940s and ‘50s, when Gallup began collecting data about religious affiliation, nine in 10 Americans identified as Christians, with the only other significant group identifying as Jewish.
2. Although Christianity is still the predominant religion in America, formal religious identification is decreasing.
About one in five Americans say they do not have a formal religious identity and are not members of a church, synagogue, or mosque. In the 1940s and ‘50s, only two to three percent of Americans said they did not have a formal religious identity.
3. Over half of Americans still say that religion plays an important role in their lives.
Fifty-three percent said that religion is a “very important” part of their lives. While this is still a majority, the number was as high as 70 percent in 1965. The number has fluctuated through the years, however, and the current numbers are about equal to those of the years 1978 and 1987.
4. A majority of Americans believe that religion is losing influence in society.
Seventy-two percent believe that religion is declining in American life. This number has gone consistently up over the years, except for specific periods of time such as in 1957, as well as shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
5. Religion tends to correlate to political affiliation.
On the whole, Republicans tend to identify as religious more often than Democrats. Just over half of Republicans are “highly religious” and regularly attend religious services, while only a third of Democrats identify as the same.