US Surveys

Measuring Religious Affiliation in the United States.

Text Size:

Introduction: Religion in the United States

US FlagSurveys have for many years shown that the United States has a Christian majority (see GSS data below). A 2010 Report on the global Christian population gave the total number of US Christians as 246,780,000, representing 79.5% of the total US population and 11.3% of all Christians worldwide. (Source: Pew Forum).

A 2012 Pew Forum survey indicated that from 2007 to 2012:

A later survey published in 2015 indicated that from 2007 to 2014:

The 2014 Religious Landscape study gave the following breakdown of religious affiliation:

The study also found that:



US General Social Survey (GSS)

Data on religious affiliation from the GSS is available. A report comparing religious affiliation in 1991 and 2012 is available for download.

The GSS data indicates that, over the period 1972 to 2012:

These figures are based on an average sample size of 2,000 persons with a margin of error around ±2%.

1 The GSS Subdivides 'Protestant' into 'Conservative' (e.g. Baptist, Pentecostal, 'Christian', Church of God in Christ) and 'Mainline' (e.g. Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian).

2 The overall figure of 19.7% for 2012 includes:

Base: 2,044
Note: Figures are taken from the Association of Religion Data Archives: ARDA.

Results from the 2012 GSS survey indicate:


Views of the Bible in the USA

When asked for their views on the Bible from a list of three alternatives:

Source: US GSS 2006

Weighted Base: 2,949.


Other GSS Responses


US attendance at Religious Services

GSS data for responses to the question 'How often do you attend religious services?'

Note: average number of persons surveyed ~ 2,000, with 4,492 surveyed in 2006.

A later survey conducted by World Values over the period 2010-2014 indicated that 30.2% of the American population either never, or practically never attend religious services. This compares to just 12% over the period 1981-84. However, at least a third of the American population attend once a week or more.


Religious Affiliation by group


  1. The Pew Forum survey classifies Protestants into three separate traditions, defining 'tradition' as "...a set of denominations and congregations with similar beliefs, practices and origins."
  2. In 2014, 22.8% of the US population are not affiliated with any religion. They are divided as follows: 'Atheist': 3.1%, 'Agnostic': 4.0% and 'No Particular Religion': 15.8%
  3. Of the 1.6% who in 2007 who self identify as 'Atheist', 70% are Male.
  4. The overall Christian population of the USA has fallen from 78.4% to 70.6% over the seven year period.


African-American Religious Preferences


  1. The 59% figure for historically black Protestant churches breaks down as: 40% Baptist, 5% Methodist, 6% Pentecostal, 8% Other.
  2. Less than 0.5% of African-Americans are: Atheist, Buddhist, Jewish, Mormon or Orthodox. Jehovah's Witness and Islam have 1% each.
  3. Full data is available on the Pew Forum web site.


Religious Affiliation by Age

Statistics from the Public Religion Resource Institute 2012 Millennial Values Survey.

The survey also looked at the numbers of people who left the religion they were affiliated to in childhood. The results included: