NC in Focus: Religious Affiliation, 2014
“The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing[. T]hese 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.”
– “America’s Changing Religious Landscape,” Pew Research Center on Religion & Public Life
Nationwide, 71% of American adults identified as Christian in the 2014 Religious Landscape Survey, a marked decline from 78% in 2007. The Southern United States and North Carolina both have a higher proportion of Christian adherents – 76% and 77%, respectively.
Within the Christian population, there are marked regional differences in affiliation. More than a third of adults in the South and North Carolina identify as evangelical Protestant, a higher proportion than the national average (25%). North Carolina has a higher share of mainline and historically black Protestant adherents and a much lower share of Catholics than the U.S. as a whole (9% vs. 21%).
The United States has a slightly higher proportion of individuals who are religiously unaffiliated (23%) than either the South as a whole (19%) or North Carolina (20%).
Within North Carolina, the religiously unaffiliated are highly diverse: 2% of all adults identify as atheist, 3% as agnostic, 8% as “nothing in particular” with religion not important, and 7% as “nothing in particular” but for whom religion is important.