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Moreover, these changes are taking place across the religious landscape, affecting all regions of the country and many demographic groups.
While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages. The same trends are seen among whites, blacks and Latinos; among both college graduates and adults with only a high school education; and among women as well as men.
Explore the data with our interactive database tool. To be sure, the United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world, and a large majority of Americans — roughly seven-in-ten — continue to identify with some branch of the Christian faith.
And the share of Americans who identify with non-Christian faiths also has inched up, rising 1. Growth has been especially great among Muslims and Hindus, albeit from a very low base. The The changing world in the Christian share of the population has been driven mainly by declines among mainline Protestants and Catholics.
Each of those large religious traditions has shrunk by approximately three percentage points since The evangelical Protestant share of the U.
Non-Hispanic whites now account for smaller shares of evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants The changing world Catholics than they did seven years earlier, while Hispanics have grown as a share of all three religious groups. Religious intermarriage also appears to be on the rise: Nearly one-in-five people surveyed who got married since are either religiously unaffiliated respondents who married a Christian spouse or Christians who married an unaffiliated spouse.
Explore data on religious groups in the U. Religious Landscape Study, a follow-up to its first comprehensive study of religion in America, conducted in The Religious Landscape Studies were designed to fill the gap.
Comparing two virtually identical surveys, conducted seven years apart, can bring important trends into sharp relief. This makes it possible to paint demographic and religious profiles of numerous denominations that cannot be described by smaller surveys.
The latest survey was conducted in English and Spanish among a nationally representative sample of 35, adults interviewed by telephone, on both cellphones and landlines, from June 4-Sept. Findings based on the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 0. See Appendix A for more information on how the survey was conducted, margins of error for subgroups analyzed in this report and additional details.
Even a very small margin of error, when applied to the hundreds of millions of people living in the United States, can yield a wide range of estimates for the size of particular faiths. Nevertheless, the results of the second Religious Landscape Study indicate that Christians probably have lost ground, not only in their relative share of the U.
Catholics, for instance, are defined as all respondents who say they are Catholic, regardless of their specific beliefs and whether or not they attend Mass regularly. In fact, many people who are unaffiliated with a religion believe in God, pray at least occasionally and think of themselves as spiritual people.
For more details on the exact questions used to measure religious identity, see the survey topline. For more on how Protestant respondents were grouped into particular religious traditions, see Appendix B.
Between andthe overall size of the U. This decline is larger than the combined margins of sampling error in the twin surveys conducted seven years apart. Using the margins of error to calculate a probable range of estimates, it appears that the number of Christian adults in the U.
Inthere were an estimated 41 million mainline Protestant adults in the United States. And evangelical Protestants, while declining slightly as a percentage of the U. The new survey indicates that churches in the evangelical Protestant tradition — including the Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God, Churches of Christ, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Presbyterian Church in America, other evangelical denominations and many nondenominational congregations — now have a total of about 62 million adult adherents.
That is an increase of roughly 2 million sincethough once the margins of error are taken into account, it is possible that the number of evangelicals may have risen by as many as 5 million or remained essentially unchanged.
The new survey indicates there are about 51 million Catholic adults in the U. But taking margins of error into account, the decline in the number of Catholic adults could be as modest as 1 million.
Meanwhile, the number of religiously unaffiliated adults has increased by roughly 19 million since There are now approximately 56 million religiously unaffiliated adults in the U. Indeed, the unaffiliated are now second in size only to evangelical Protestants among major religious groups in the U.
As the Millennial generation enters adulthood, its members display much lower levels of religious affiliation, including less connection with Christian churches, than older generations. And fewer than six-in-ten Millennials identify with any branch of Christianity, compared with seven-in-ten or more among older generations, including Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers.
Roughly one-in-five are evangelical Protestants.At its core, demography is the act of counting people.
But it’s also important to study the forces that are driving population change, and measure how these changes have an impact on people’s lives. The Change the World list recognizes companies that have had a positive social impact through activities that are part of their core business strategy.
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