CHICAGO (ABP) — Protestants could cease to be the majority religious group in the United States within the next year, a new study by the National Opinion Research Center says.
Between 1972 and 1993, the Protestant share of the U.S. population remained constant, averaging 62.8 percent, according to Religion News Service. Since then it has been in decline, reaching 52.4 percent in 2002.
According to the study, the percentage of Americans who said they were raised as Protestants dropped from 64.7 percent in 1972 to 55.7 percent in 2002. Among people born after 1980, less than half said they were raised Protestant, suggesting the downward trend would continue.
The study also found fewer people raised Protestants remain so. Prior to 1993, a steady 90 percent remained Protestants as adults. By 2000, that figure had dropped below 83 percent, RNS reported.
Immigration also has lowered the proportion of Protestants in the United States. The study found that only 24.5 percent of immigrants are Protestant.