Orange County Register

US Religious Affiliation in Decline

Eight years ago, the Pew Research Center reported 16.1 percent of Americans categorized themselves as unaffiliated with an organized religion. According to a new follow-up study by the center, the number of the "religiously unaffiliated" in the United States rose to 22.8 percent in 2014.

Rapidly decreasing are the number of individuals who affiliate themselves as Christians in the United States. The number dropped from 78.4 percent in 2007 to 70.6 percent in 2014, surprising experts throughout the country, including Cal State Fullerton professor emeritus of comparative religion Ben Hubbard.

"I follow these trends really closely; I was surprised at the drop in the past 10 years," said Hubbard of the decline in individuals who identify with Christianity.

"It is huge," he said. "That is a really big drop."

The Pew study indicated that the changes in the United States' religiosity are occurring throughout the country and in many demographics.

Hubbard has a few theories as to why the number of individuals in the United States who categorize themselves as religiously unaffiliated is growing:

• Disillusion with organized religion. "Religion is seen by a lot of young people as a source of conflict," Hubbard said, citing recent struggles with LGBT rights, abortion and culture and religious wars in other countries. Continue reading.

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