White Christians Are Now a Minority in 19 US States

Posted March 11th, 2015 at 1:23 pm (UTC-4)

FILE - Catholic school students pray the rosary at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Wichita, Kanasa, where the majority of parishioners are Hispanic. (AP Photo)

FILE – Catholic school students pray the rosary at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Wichita, Kanasa, where the majority of parishioners are Hispanic. (AP Photo)

White Christian men have long been the primary movers and shakers in American politics and culture.  All 43 U.S. presidents, with the exception of Barack Obama–who was born to a white mother and a black father–were white Christians.

However, the American landscape is changing. White Christians, once the majority virtually everywhere in the United States, are now a minority in 19 states, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.

STATES WHERE WHITE CHRISTIANS ARE NO LONGER THE MAJORITY (Percentages of white Christians in each state)

1. Hawaii – 20%
2. California – 25%
3. New Mexico – 33%
4. Nevada – 36%
5. New York – 37%
6. Alaska – 37%
7. Texas – 37%
8. Maryland – 38%
9. Arizona – 38%
10. Washington – 42%
11. Florida – 42%
12. Oregon – 43%
13. New Jersey – 43%
14. Colorado – 44%
15. Illinois – 46%
16. Georgia – 46%
17. Vermont – 47%
18. Delaware – 48%
19. Louisiana – 49%

The PRRI’s survey defines “white Christian” as evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox Christians who describe themselves as “white, non-Hispanic.”

The survey also found that the United States is no longer a majority Protestant nation. In 2014, only 47 percent of Americans identified as Protestant.

“There’s more people who were raised Protestant [who are] now unaffiliated, and you combine that with the ethnic shifts, and that gives you this decline in Protestants across the country,” said Robert P. Jones, CEO of the PRRI.

Those ethnic shifts include the rising number of non-white Catholics; American Catholicism is becoming increasingly Hispanic, and evangelicals are seeing more non-white churchgoers.

While 76 percent of Americans continue to identify with the Christian faith, there is a growing population of non-Christian and non-Jewish religions. Five percent of the country is either Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or some other religion.

“Going toward the future, the kind of 1950s way of thinking about America as Protestant, Catholic and Jewish is really no longer going to be sufficient,” said Jones. “It really is a much more complex landscape.”

Adding to that complexity is the rising number of Americans who describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated. There’s a so-called “unchurch belt” stretching from up in the Pacific Northwest and into Alaska, Oregon, and Washington State. There are so many people don’t identify with a particular religion that “religiously unaffiliated” is the largest religious group in 13 states, including Vermont and New Hampshire.

It is this rising number of religiously unaffiliated Americans that can be expected to flex its muscle in the coming years. While much of the the political debate in the 1980s and 1990s involved the religious versus the non-religious, that might be about to change.

“I think we’re going to see the fault lines shifting a little bit differently so that we have the religiously unaffiliated really weighing in,” said Jones. “This very large group of religiously unaffiliated Americans, I think, has the real potential to change the equation in terms of politics, in terms of culture, and I think we’re just beginning to see that impact.”

According to PRRI, it derived its information from 50,000 annual telephone interviews. The findings are available in an online tool The American Values Atlas.

20 responses to “White Christians Are Now a Minority in 19 US States”

  1. Jacob says:

    I am a bit puzzled by your angle on this story. I checked the source you quote. They divide protestants into four groups, including non-white, non-Hispanic Protestants. This may be of interest to some people, but as Martin Luther King’s name indicates, Protestants, of whatever kind they may be, do constitute a group that should not be divided along racial lines as your title reads. The same is true of Catholics — your picture shows, for example, Hispanic Catholics who are thus not classified by your source as “white Christians.” To say that white people are becoming a minority in America is of course newsworthy, but to focus in on white Christians (combining both Catholics and Protestants and leaving out completely non-whites) leaves me puzzled as to its sociological importance in comparison to other angles your source discusses.

    • Shane says:

      What i think the article is trying to say in regards to White Protestants is that the WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) share of the population is declining, and as this group has traditionally dominated US politics (until J. F.Kennedy, all US Presidents had been some form of Protestant and of Anglo Saxon ethnicity) We tend to forget that the term ‘white’ was not applied to all Europeans equally in the past, with the successive waves of non Enlgish European immigrants (Irish, Germans, Eastern Europeans) being marginalized and shut out of the political system for many years.

  2. michael ioannides says:

    What do you consider Hispanics to be? Semi white Catholics?

  3. Tim says:

    This is why I support white Christian Russia over America. This isn’t my country anymore nor will I fight to defend the usurpers

    • Robert Mulkey says:

      Maybe you should leave, then. You’re a disgrace.

    • Joe pancake says:

      This man gets it. This country has been changed. It is no longer a force for good in the world, I was destroyed from the inside out by it’s own citizens who work tirelessly for their own genocide and replacement.

      They are not my people, and I will not help them one whit. I will watch and enjoy the justice that some will reap the fruits of their politics personally.

  4. Ace Hoosier says:

    Religion is just a label we wear. A school of thought. Strip away all our outer differences and we’re all the same. Weren’t we all born the same, have the same limbs, all bleed if we’re cut, cold in the cold and hot in the hot? We look at such superficial differences and think they are the person. There’s no reason we can’t all get along–except that our minds won’t let us do so. Try working alongside a Muslim, a black, a Jew or a Buddhist. You’ll find your common ground in order to get the job done. Life can be like that too.

    • Razzor says:

      Actually some people are born differently. Some are born with extra limbs, blue blood, looking like a tree/person hybrid, connected to a twin, and so on. But yeah I get the gist of what you were trying to say.

  5. Frank says:

    What does it matter what color you are as long as you keep the commandments. I’m sure Jesus wasn’t blonde haired and blue eyes!

  6. Dr,Joji Cherian says:

    What is the point in debating and discussing the percentage of Christians.1.8% of the population,Jews they control the wealth of USA.They extract the wealth of the nation for their own purpose and with that money they sabotage and wreck establishments of the nation buying out corrupt legislators to act against the interests of U S of A.They send Christian boys to fight wars for them and in return send back body bags and maimed boys.After all these they insult and humiliate America.America’s real enemy is Jewry

  7. Somnath Mukhopadhyay says:

    It is heartening to find that “religiously unaffiliated” is the majority in 13 US states. This is happening in Europe too. The majority of educated and liberal people believe that there is “good” in all religions. There is “bad” too. We need to be able to use our individual sense of right and wrong to understand this, not just for the religion our parents may have followed, but for all the world’s philosophy and religious teachings. If we do this, we will no longer feel the need to “sign up” to any particular religion. I cannot think of any reason why we should be expected to “follow” a particular religion. I understand “following” a religion means we accept all that the religion says is true. This does not allow the individual to make an independent judgement of what he or she is “following”. This is the instrinsic problem that is contributing to violence in this world today and it is wrong. Europe and the US must lead the way. It is important to note that India has never had a majority religion. “Hinduism” is a way of life, it does not fulfil the definition of “religion”. Thank God it does not! Although there has been much religious conflict in India, there has also been much independent thinking across diferent faith and belief systems and this has meant that the country and the civilisation has produced very few people with terrorist intent in this current madding world.

    • Jacob says:

      Dear Somnath, your comment reminds me of my own comment at the top. The way this study was done just confuses people. In fact, the religiously unaffiliated are not the majority in any state (i.e. more than 50%). I don’t blame you for being confused by the presentation. On a nation-wide basis the unaffiliated are the same as the Catholics (22%) if you check the source listed in this article. The unaffiliated become the majority (i.e. largest group) in some states if you divide the Protestants into four groups (white Christians being a separate group with the blacks completely ignored!) Then, of course, both the Catholics and Protestants are both Christians which would blow away the “unaffiliated” — especially because the “unaffiliated” who may be in fact Christians who don’t attend any particular Church. Your comment about not signing up to a particular religion makes sense if religion is just a matter of personal opinion, but most in America believe that God has sent inspired prophets (in the Bible) and therefore religion is something “revealed” (by God himself) and not just the result of human thinking about these matters. That is why religion requires faith as opposed to philosophy, which is human opinion which stands or falls according to the opinion of the individual thinker.

      • Somnath Mukhopadhyay says:

        Jacob, thank you for your kind comment. I think we could of course have a discussion on whether or not the quality of the study was good and whether or not it confuses people or enriches their thinking. I do not think I have any strong views about this, I thought it was an interesting study. I just felt it was heartening that a significant proportion of Americans are beginning to consider themselves as unaffiliated to religion. To me, it seems that they are placing more emphasis on evaluating their learning through the use of their own powers of thinking, reflecting, and contemplating. I think they are then rejecting the aspects of their learning (including faith-based learning) that they consider are inappropriate, and are accepting the aspects of their learning that they consider appropriate. I think this is a step change in our evolution as human beings. Some parts of the world, such as parts of the Middle East, Pakistan, Iran and the United States have, in particular, been bogged down by an unquestionaing acceptance of ‘faith’ that has been transmitted down generation after generation for several centuries. Other parts of the world are perhaps more liberated from this context. It is a welcome change that this ray of light appears to be shining through the clouds in the US, may it happen in the Middle East and Pakistan and Iran in forthcoming years!

  8. Robert Mulkey says:

    I no longer consider myself a Christian. I consider myself a follower of Christ. “Christian” has become a pejorative in our society, and rightly so, I believe. I am chagrined at how Christianity is now in bed with the king and has become power hungry in the political arena. My desire is to know God more deeply and try to follow the words of Christ rather than the interpretations of “the church”. Which interpretation of Scripture do I follow? In Christ’s time, was there a Christian “church” of director boards, building committees, human resource offices and budget officials? People make the assumption that if one isn’t religiously affiliated, then one must be of “the others”. I’m finding that to be untrue.

  9. Anonymous says:

    when the judgements of God are upon the earth the inhabitants thereof will learn righteousness….. Let people take whatever stands they want to , time will tell

    • Robert Mulkey says:

      I don’t know what relevance your comment has regarding the judgments of God. We are talking a sociological phenomenon.

    • Somnath Mukhopadhyay says:

      Anon – this is such an interesting statement. This illustrates the point I am making. You are correct in referring to your faith-based learning to make the point that “when the judgements of God are upon the earth the inhabitants thereof will learn righteousness….. Let people take whatever stands they want to, time will tell”. I think it is heartening though that some inhabitants are reflecting on this and related aspects of faith-based knowledge and are perhaps coming up with a different understanding of of their own self.

  10. KatyL says:

    I’m curious. Since when are Hispanics not considered to be white? What race would they be? Somebody better tell the Spaniards they aren’t Caucasian!

    • V. M. Purishkevich says:

      Katy: Evidently you are not paying attention. “Hispanic” is actually a linguistic term. US Census and other forms consider that Hispanics can be any race. But in political terms “Hispanics” are not Spaniards. They are a racially mixed group ranging from pure white to mixtures of white, Indian, black. They organize as “Brown.” Google up “La Raza” (“the Race”) or other “Hispanic” activist groups and you will find many of them demand Whites return to Europe.

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