Religion in the United States

Religion in the United States is diverse, with Christianity and specifically Protestantism being the majority religion, although declining at rapid pace.[2] Various religious faiths have flourished within the United States. Just over 40% of Americans report that religion plays a very important role in their lives,[1] a proportion unique among developed countries.[3] Freedom of religion in the United States is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Religion in the United States (2020)[1]

  Protestant (42%)
  Catholic (21%)
  Mormon (2%)
  Unaffiliated (18%)
  Atheist (5%)
  Agnostic (6%)
  Jewish (1%)
  Muslim (1%)
  Hindu (1%)
  Buddhist (1%)
  Other religion (2%)
  Unanswered (1%)

Historically, the United States has always been marked by religious pluralism and diversity, beginning with various native beliefs of the pre-colonial time, though Protestantism has long been the predominant and majority religion. In colonial times, Anglicans, Quakers, and other mainline Protestants arrived from Northwestern Europe. Various dissenting Protestants who had left the Church of England greatly diversified the religious landscape. The Great Awakenings gave birth to multiple evangelical Protestant denominations; membership in Methodist and Baptist churches increased drastically in the Second Great Awakening. In the 18th century, deism found support among American upper classes and intellectual thinkers. The Episcopal Church, splitting from the Church of England, came into being in the American Revolution. New Protestant branches like Adventism emerged; Restorationists and other Christians like the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Latter Day Saint movement, Churches of Christ and Church of Christ, Scientist, as well as Unitarian and Universalist communities all spread in the 19th century. During the immigrant waves of the mid to late 19th and 20th century, an unprecedented number of Catholic, Jewish, and Orthodox Christian immigrants arrived in the United States. Protestant Pentecostalism emerged in the early 20th century as a result of the Azusa Street Revival. Scientology emerged in the 1950s. Unitarian Universalism resulted from the merge of Unitarian and Universalist churches in the 20th century.

Since the 1990s, the religious share of Christians has decreased, while Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism, and other religions have spread, mainly from immigration. When including "irreligion" or "unaffiliated" as a religious category for statistical purposes, Protestantism, historically and currently the dominant form of religion in the United States, ceased to be the religious category of the majority in the early 2010s, though this is primarily the result of an increase in Americans, including Americans of Protestant descent, professing no religious affiliation, rather than being primarily the result of an increase in non-Protestant religious affiliations; Protestantism remains the most common or the majority religion among those Americans who declare a religious affiliation.[4]

The United States has the world's largest Christian population[5] and, more specifically, contains the largest Protestant population in the world. Christianity is the largest religion in the United States, with the various Protestant Churches having the most adherents. The United States has been called a Protestant nation by a variety of sources.[6][7][8][9] In 2019, Christians represent 65% of the total adult population, 43% identifying as Protestants, 20% as Catholics, and 2% as Mormons. People with no formal religious identity form 26% of the total population. When consolidating all Christian denominations into one religious grouping, Judaism is the second-largest religion in the U.S., practiced by 2% of the population, followed by Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, each with 1% of the population.[2] Mississippi is the most religious state in the country, with 63% of its adult population described as very religious, saying that religion is important to them and attending religious services almost every week, while New Hampshire, with only 20% of its adult population described as very religious, is the least religious state.[10] The most religious state or territory of the United States is American Samoa (99.3% religious).[11]


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