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Religion declining in U.S.

A wide-ranging study on American religious life found a shift in the Roman Catholic population, a decline of Christians' percentage in the nation and an increase of people who say they have no religion.

No religion

Fifteen percent said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990. Americans with no religion rose in every state.

Catholic shift

In the Northeast, Catholics made up 36 percent of adults last year, down from 43 percent in 1990. At the same time, Catholics grew to about one-third of the adult population in California and Texas, and to one-quarter of Floridians. Nationally, Catholics remain the largest segment at about one-quarter of the population.

Christian decline

In 2008, non-Catholic Christians comprised 76 percent of U.S. adults, compared with about 77 percent in 2001 and about 86 percent in 1990.

Other faiths

Mormon numbers held steady at 1.4 percent of the population, while the number of religiously observant Jews dropped from 1.8 percent in 1990 to 1.2 percent last year. The U.S. Muslim population grew to 0.6 percent, while growth in Eastern religions such as Buddhism slowed.

The report from the Program on Public Values at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., surveyed 54,461 adults in English or Spanish from February through November of last year. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.5 percentage points.

Religion declining in U.S. 03/08/09 [Last modified: Sunday, March 8, 2009 8:45pm]
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