Most Americans are proud to be part of a nation that is becoming more religiously diverse, a new study confirms, and nearly 3 in 4 have built a relationship with someone from a different religion than their own.
The PRRI/IFYC survey also showed America’s religious landscape is becoming increasingly diverse. PRRI CEO and founder Robert P. Jones and IFYC President and founder Eboo Patel announced the findings today (March 24) at the Religion News Association conference in Bethesda, Maryland.
Key findings include:
In 1990, 72% of Americans were white Christian, 15% were Christians of color, 8% were unaffiliated, and 5% practiced non-Christian religions. In 2021, that has shifted to 44% white Christian, 25% Christians of color, 25% unaffiliated, and 6% belonged to non-Christian religious.
The survey also showed that younger Americans are more likely to be religiously unaffiliated: 34% of those 18-29 are unaffiliated, compared to 16% 65 and older.
Many Americans support religious pluralism: 72% of Americans – and at least 2/3 of most religious groups – report that they have built a relationship with a coworker, neighbor, or classmate who follows a different religion than their own.
Most Americans (70%) are proud to be part of a nation that is becoming more religiously diverse. White Christian evangelicals (53%) and Hispanic Protestants (41%) are notable outliers.
There are some signs of discomfort and ambivalence about religious pluralism, though. When asked on a scale of 1-10 whether they want the U.S. to be made up of people belonging to a wide variety of religions or people who follow the Christian faith, a plurality (39%) of Americans fall in the middle, while 38% stating a desire for a variety of religions, and 24% indicating they prefer mostly people who follow the Christian faith.