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By contrast, just 5% of people who got married before 1960 fit this profile. As a rising cohort of highly unaffiliated Millennials reaches adulthood, the median age of unaffiliated adults has dropped to 36, down from 38 in 2007 and far lower than the general (adult) population’s median age of 46. Surveys of the general public frequently include a few questions about religious affiliation, but they typically do not interview enough people, or ask sufficiently detailed questions, to be able to describe the country’s full religious landscape.By contrast, the median age of mainline Protestant adults in the new survey is 52 (up from 50 in 2007), and the median age of Catholic adults is 49 (up from 45 seven years earlier). census does not ask Americans about their religion, there are no official government statistics on the religious composition of the U. The Religious Landscape Studies were designed to fill the gap.And evangelical Protestants, while declining slightly as a percentage of the U. public, probably have grown in absolute numbers as the overall U. That is an increase of roughly 2 million since 2007, though once the margins of error are taken into account, it is possible that the number of evangelicals may have risen by as many as 5 million or remained essentially unchanged.Like mainline Protestants, Catholics appear to be declining both as a percentage of the population and in absolute numbers. But taking margins of error into account, the decline in the number of Catholic adults could be as modest as 1 million.(Explore the data with our interactive database tool.) To be sure, the United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world, and a large majority of Americans – roughly seven-in-ten – continue to identify with some branch of the Christian faith.But the major new survey of more than 35,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014.For more on how Protestant respondents were grouped into particular religious traditions, see Appendix B. adult population grew by about 18 million people, to nearly 245 million.In 2007, there were 227 million adults in the United States, and a little more than 78% of them – or roughly 178 million – identified as Christians. But the share of adults who identify as Christians fell to just under 71%, or approximately 173 million Americans, a net decline of about 5 million.
By contrast, the size of the historically black Protestant tradition – which includes the National Baptist Convention, the Church of God in Christ, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Progressive Baptist Convention and others – has remained relatively stable in recent years, at nearly 16 million adults. The new survey indicates that churches in the evangelical Protestant tradition – including the Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God, Churches of Christ, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Presbyterian Church in America, other evangelical denominations and many nondenominational congregations – now have a total of about 62 million adult adherents.This decline is larger than the combined margins of sampling error in the twin surveys conducted seven years apart.Using the margins of error to calculate a probable range of estimates, it appears that the number of Christian adults in the U. has shrunk by somewhere between 2.8 million and 7.8 million.Each of those large religious traditions has shrunk by approximately three percentage points since 2007. Even as their numbers decline, American Christians – like the U. population as a whole – are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse.Non-Hispanic whites now account for smaller shares of evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics than they did seven years earlier, while Hispanics have grown as a share of all three religious groups.