This Christmas, 78% of Americans Identify as Christian

From by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, NJ — This Christmas season, 78% of Americans identify with some form of Christian religion, a proportion that has been declining in recent decades. The major reason for this decline has been an increase in the percentage of Americans claiming no religious identity, now at 13% of all adults.

In 1948, 91% of Americans identified with a Christian faith. Twenty years ago, in 1989, 82% of Americans identified as Christian. Ten years ago, it was 84%. This year, as noted, 78% of all American adults identify with a Christian faith.

Personal Importance of Religion

Does the decrease in religious identity signify that religion is losing its importance for Americans? There was a substantial drop in the percentage of Americans who said religion was “very important” in their lives between the 1960s and the 1970s — from 70% in 1965 to 52% by 1978 — but in recent decades, this “very important” percentage has remained relatively steady. The overall figure today — 56% — is slightly higher than it was 31 years ago.


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