We Oklahomans often say we live in the Bible Belt, and this map proves the point. We are at one end of the belt, if you define it as states where more than half of the population identifies as an Evangelical Protestant.
The data comes from the wonderfully detailed new study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. You can use their online engine to map each of the religious sects in America, view and compare the demographics of each sect, or view the full report.
More than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion – or no religion at all. If change in affiliation from one type of Protestantism to another is included, 44% of adults have either switched religious affiliation, moved from being unaffiliated with any religion to being affiliated with a particular faith, or dropped any connection to a specific religious tradition altogether.
The survey finds that the number of people who say they are unaffiliated with any particular faith today (16.1%) is more than double the number who say they were not affiliated with any particular religion as children. Among Americans ages 18-29, one-in-four say they are not currently affiliated with any particular religion.
The Landscape Survey confirms that the United States is on the verge of becoming a minority Protestant country; the number of Americans who report that they are members of Protestant denominations now stands at barely 51%.
The sizable group of switchers includes me. I was raised as a Disciple of Christ – a Restorationist church in the Mainline Tradition of Christianity – whose members are perhaps 0.3 percent of the US population. But I am now among the 16.1% (+/- 0.6%) of Americans and 12% (+/- 5%) of Oklahomans who are Unaffiliated.
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