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Evangelical numbers remain steady since 2014, analysis finds

A new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data finds there has been no large-scale departure from evangelicalism among Americans in the past five years.

According to the analysis of survey data from the Center’s American Trends Panel, which has surveyed the same group of Americans since 2014, the number of respondents who identify as evangelicals has remained consistent.

Among all white adults who participated in surveys in 2016 and 2020, 25% described themselves as born-again or evangelical Protestants in 2016; 29% described themselves this way in 2020.

The share of non-white U.S. adults who abandoned the born-again/evangelical label in recent years is offset by the share who adopted it. Among non-white respondents who participated in both the 2016 and 2020 surveys, 26% identified as born-again/evangelical Protestants in 2016, and 25% identified this way in 2020.

Changing landscape

The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.

Other Pew studies indicate a shrinking number of American adults who identify as Christian when asked about their religious. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade.

Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.

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