Top Religions by State

There are many ways to look at America's top religions. The Public Religion Research Institute's new American Values Atlas offers a helpful way to consider the religious makeup of the United States on both a national and state level. National Perspective As a whole the top three religions in our country are Catholic - 22% Religiously unaffiliated - 22% White Evangelical Protestants - 18%. Personal Experience I have spent my life in Texas and Florida.  The largest religion Read More …

Latinos Leaving Catholicism

The longstanding cultural expectation that Latinos are overwhelmingly Catholic is shifting.  New data from Pew Research finds that "a majority (55%) of the nation’s estimated 35.4 million Latino adults – or about 19.6 million Latinos – identify as Catholic today."  To put this in perspective, one must understand that the percentage of Latinos self-identifying as Catholic has been declining for two decades, and the rate of decline is accelerating.  Over the last four years alone, the number has Read More …

Religious Profiles

Since the American religious landscape is always changing, it is important to note current demographic data. The following image is from the Public Religion Research Institute and Brookings based on data captured last summer. So What? According to this survey of just over 2,000 people religious progressives are more racially diverse than any other group, and are more than twice as successful in attracting the affiliation of America's youngest adults: the Millennials.  On the other end Read More …

America the Religiously Diverse

Last week's graphic of the week from the Public Religion Research Institute is titled America the Diverse.  In the days since it was posted, I have returned to it several times and referenced it in multiple conversations. So What? The information contained on this graphic isn't news to those who follow generational trends.  It is, however, important data for congregational leaders to consider as they plan for the future. Currently, I serve two mainline congregations comprised primarily Read More …

Learning from the Unaffiliated

Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly recently featured Diana Butler Bass, author of Christianity After Religion (my review), about the religious implications of the rise of the religiously unaffiliated.  While there is diversity within the growing group of religiously unaffiliated, Butler Bass claims, " . . . an awful lot of people who are in the unaffiliated categories - people who are spiritual but not religious or people who consider themselves to maybe to be spiritual and religious are engaging Read More …

Religious Under and Over Representation in the 112th Congress

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life posted "Faith on the Hill: The Religious Composition of the 112th Congress" last month.  This article explores the religious makeup of both chambers, compares the religious preferences of newly elected officials and incumbents, and provides historical data.  Shown at right is a chart showing how varying religions are represented in the 112th Congress and in the American adult population as a whole. So What? While some variance between the makeup of Read More …

The Missing Millennials

Many denominations and local congregations worry about the increasing age of their members.  Differing sources provide a variety of explanations for why fewer young people attend church or choose to affiliate with a religion.  According to the graphic below, provided by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life, the youngest generations have the highest level of  religious non-affiliation.  By generation the numbers for those who claim no religious affiliation climb from 5% for Read More …