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Study: Record Low Numbers of White, Christian Americans

2017-09-13

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  • The number of Americans who identify as white and Christian now represents less than 50 percent of the United States population.
  • [00:15.58]
  • A new study says immigrants have driven the decrease along with a growing number of Americans who reject organized religion.
  • [00:28.74]
  • The Public Religion Research Institute, or PRRI, did the study.
  • [00:36.46]
  • It questioned more than 100,000 people between January 2016 and January 2017.
  • [00:47.50]
  • It found that Christianity overall remains a large majority.
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  • Nearly 70 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian.
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  • However, white Christians -- once dominant -- now make up only 43 percent of the national population.
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  • Forty years ago, about 80 percent of Americans were white Christians.
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  • Today, about 25 percent of Americans do not identify with a single religion, the study found.
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  • About 17 percent of Americans now identify as white evangelical Christians, compared to 23 percent 10 years ago.
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  • In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, a Republican, received 80 percent of the votes of white evangelicals.
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  • The PRRI study found that more than one-third of all Republicans say they are white evangelicals.
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  • And nearly 75 percent of Republicans identify themselves as white Christians.
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  • By comparison, about eight percent of Democrats call themselves white evangelicals.
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  • Almost 30 percent of Democrats identify as white Christians.
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  • And 40 percent of Democrats say they have no religious affiliation.
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  • The latest PRRI study also provided state-by-state details.
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  • It found that New York is the state with the greatest religious diversity.
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  • The southern state of Mississippi has the least religious diversity.
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  • The northeastern U.S. has long been where most of American Catholics live, and the northeastern state of Rhode Island remains the most Catholic state in the country.
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  • However, the Catholic population in the country is shifting, PRRI reports.
  • [03:18.19]
  • A majority of Catholics in the U.S. now live in the south or west.
  • [03:25.37]
  • The change comes from an increase in Latin American immigrants settling in those areas.
  • [03:33.24]
  • I’m Ashley Thompson.
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