Religious Practice

Explore the data on religious involvement and practice in America.

Religious Practice Charts

 
  • Americans with no religious preference About one in six Americans say they have no religious preference Since the 1990s, the percentage of Americans who say they have no religion has risen dramatically. However, only 10 percent of those with no religion report being atheists and 15 percent report being agnostic. Among the remaining 75 percent, about one-half say religion plays a somewhat or very important role in their lives.
  • Beliefs about the Bible Most adults believe the Bible is the literal or inspired word of God About one-third of adults believe that the Bible is the literal word of God, and more than two in four believe it is the inspired word of God.
  • Percent of adults with a “born again” experience About one adult in three has had a born again religious experience The percentage of adults who report a “born again” experience has remained relatively stable over the past two decades.
  • Strength of religious affiliation Strength of religious affiliation has declined slightly Since 1974, the number of individuals with no religious affiliation has increased by 165 percent, while the number of those who feel strongly affiliated with their religious tradition has declined by 11 percent. Currently, more than one in six is not affiliated with a religion, while more than one in three reports being strongly affiliated.
  • Frequency of prayer The majority of adults pray daily Just under three in five adults say they pray daily, and one in five prays weekly. More than one in 10 say they never pray.
  • Religious attendance Church attendance is declining Since the 1970s, the share of those who never attend religious services or attend less than once a year increased by 53 percent, while those who attend several times a year or weekly decreased by 29 and 26 percent, respectively.
  • Religious attendance and volunteerism Religious individuals are more likely to volunteer Volunteerism among individuals who attend religious services each week tends to be greater than the national average and among those who attend less frequently.
  • Religious attendance and chartiable giving Religious individuals tend to give more to charitable causes Compared to individuals who infrequently attend religious services, those who attend weekly are more likely to give and give more to religious charitable causes. They are also more likely to give to non-religious causes than those who rarely attend religious services.
  • Personal beliefs about God The majority of adults believe in God Three in five adults say they have no doubt that God exists. Altogether about nine in 10 adults believe in God or some higher power.
  • Religious traditions and various characteristics Evangelicals are disproportionately young and church-going Evangelical Protestants represent one-third of the population but comprise two-fifths of young adults and nearly one-half of weekly attenders.
  • Religious traditions and education achievement Religious traditions differ in their level of educational attainment Evangelical Protestants represent one-third of high-school graduates and two-fifths of those with some college or vocational training, but only one-fifth of college graduates and those with advanced degrees.
  • Religious traditions and political preference Black and evangelical Protestants show the strongest leanings in their political affiliation Evangelical Protestants represent nearly one-fifth of Democrats, one-third of Independents, one-half of Republicans, and one-quarter of individuals with other political identification.
  • Religious attendance, by religious tradition Two in five adults in the U.S. attend church at least once a week Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons are the most likely to attend services weekly or more frequently. Those who are not affiliated with any religion are the most likely to never or seldom attend religious services.
  • Religious affiliations in the U.S. One in two Americans is a Protestant Combined, Protestants constitute more than half of the U.S. adult population, followed by Catholics who constitute nearly one-fourth. One in six adults is not affiliated with any religious tradition.
  • Religious Preference Affiliation with Protestantism in America is declining overall In the past four decades, overall Protestant affiliation has declined by nearly one-quarter and Jewish affiliation by nearly one-half. In contrast, the other religious affiliation rates have increased nearly fourfold, and non-affiliation has increased more than threefold.
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