Religion by the Numbers: Christianity Declining Compared to Other Faiths, But Still The Majority Religion in America
For Christians of all denominations, this weekend marks the most significant feast of the year. Easter Sunday is the highest holy day of the Christian calendar; the day that Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus as told in the New Testament. Here in the U. S., Easter is widely observed as a secular holiday, as well.
As closely intertwined with our culture as Easter and other Christian holidays are, Christianity itself has actually declined over the last decade as a percentage of the American population. According to a 2015 demographic study by the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who identify as Christians declined from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. The study also revealed an near-equal increase in those identifying as unaffiliated or non-religious.
Though Declining, Christians Still Account for 70% of America's Population
Despite this rather sharp change in the demographics, Christianity is still the prevailing religious persuasion in the United States, by a wide margin. Assuming the trend were to continue at the same rate, it is possible that Christians would account only for a non-majority plurality within 20 – 30 years. But there are enough cultural, political, and generational variables in play to render any prediction theoretical at best.
For now, and for the foreseeable future, Christianity is the most widely accepted organized religion in the United States. So Christian holidays and observances will still have a significant influence on American culture for years to come. Pillar Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas have driven retail, travel, and entertainment activity in the U.S. for a century, and this tradition is likely to continue, even if Christians eventually become a plurality demographic.
For organizational and businesses leaders alike, understanding demographics is a prerequisite to strategy, scheduling, and communications. In addition to the common ethnic and economic markers, faith-based demographics can provide insight into a population's collective attitude toward any number of topics. And while it's difficult to say just how those numbers may change over the next ten years, it's almost certain they will. How great an impact such changes have will have on American culture is anybody's guess.