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The Vanishing Protestant Majority

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Since colonial times, the United States has been a majority Protestant nation. But the proportion Protestant in the population has been falling for over a decade, and Protestants are poised to lose their majority status. This decline results from a decline in the intergenerational retention rate for Protestants and from the attrition of Protestants among the youngest cohorts. Shifts in immigration also contribute to the Protestant decline. We also consider the role of an increasing share of people identifying as generic Christians and as inter- or nondenominational.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago, 1155 East 60th St., Chicago, IL., Email: 2: University of Chicago and research assistant at the National Opinion Research Center.

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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