Wednesday, December 26, 2007

American Christianity Remains Strong in 2007

America remains an overwhelmingly Christian nation despite a drop in the number of believers over the past decades, according to a 2007 analysis.

About 82 percent of Americans have said they identify with a Christian faith during polls conducted by Gallup in 2007. Fifty-one percent said they were Protestant; 5 percent said they were “other Christian;” 23 percent, Roman Catholic; and 3 percent, another Christian faith. Gallup included Mormonism (2 percent) as part of the three percent listed under another Christian faith, but many Christians do not consider it part of the Christian tradition.

Additionally, 11 percent of Americans said they had no religious identity, while another 2 percent did not answer.

The percentage of those who have identified with a Christian religion this year is down compared to several decades ago. This is largely because many Americans have adopted no religious identity and not so much because they have shifted to other religions, according to Gallup.

In 1948, Gallup found 69 percent of respondents identifying as Protestant and 22 percent as Roman Catholic, which overall constituted about a 91 percent Christian population in America.

Among self-described Christians in America, 62 percent said they are members of a church, down from 73 percent reported in the 1937 Gallup Poll. But the latest poll result was not significantly different compared to previous years. Since 2002, the self-reported church membership has been between 63 percent and 65 percent.

About a third of respondents have said they attend church once a week, and another 12 percent said they attend almost every week, according to a Gallup poll conducted Dec. 6-9. Overall, about 44 percent of Americans are currently described as frequent churchgoers, attending church at least almost every week.

Also, 56 percent of Americans said religion is very important in their lives. Only 17 percent said religion is not very important. The percentage is down for the 1950s and 1960s when more than 70 percent of Americans said religion was very important in their lives. However, the figure dropped to the 50 percent range by the 1970s.

The Gallup Poll analysis on Christianity was released just after an international study on the most religious nations in the world by the German think tank Bertelsmann Foundation. The German study found that the United States had an 89 percent self-described religious population. Of the religious, the majority (62 percent) consider themselves to be highly religious.

The most religious nations in the world are Nigeria, Brazil, India and Morocco – where more than 96 percent of the population described themselves as religious. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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