U.S. Religious Landscape



The United States Religious Landscape

In 2014, the Pew Research Center conducted a “Religious Landscape Study” (RLS) of the United States (U.S.). In the study, over 35,000 Americans from all 50 states were surveyed on questions regarding their religious affiliation and other factors. 


This Silk provides an overview of the religious landscape in the U.S. by using data from the RLS in order to provide users with the opportunity explore religion in the U.S. and related demographic factors. 



In the United States, an estimated seven in ten Americans are Christians. The majority of those surveyed, an estimated 70% of those surveyed confirmed this data. Following Christianity, approximately 16% of those surveyed said they do not adhere to any particular religion, while 4% declared they were agnostic. 

The study also examined the geographic location of those surveyed. The RLS found that the majority of those surveyed in Alabama, 86%, stated that they were Christian––making Alabama the most “Christian” state. On the other hand, a little over half, 58%, of those surveyed in Massachusetts identified as Christian. In fact, the RLS found that, overall, Boston, Seattle, and San Francisco have relatively few Christians in comparison to the remaining states. 

Breakdown of Christianity

Breakdown of Christianity in the U.S., by Denomination. (2014)





As mentioned, the majority of Americans are Christians. An analysis of the denomination of those surveyed demonstrates that the majority of Christians are Evangelical Protestant (35.9%), Catholic (29.4%), or Mainline Protestant (20.8%). Very few Americans identify with the Orthodox Christian or Jehovah’s Witness faith. 

Gender Distribution

Gender Distribution of Religious Landscape in the U.S. (2014)




In terms of the gender distribution, the majority (65%) of surveyors that identified with the Jehovah’s Witness faith were women, while the more than half of Muslims (65%) surveyed were men. 






*Please note that, according to the Pew Research Center: "Sample sizes and margins of error vary from subgroup to subgroup, from year to year and from state to state."

Age Distribution

Age Distribution of Religious Landscape in the U.S. (2014)






When it comes to age distribution in RLS, data shows that Islam had the highest number (44%) of followers who were between the age of 18-29, followed by those that identified as religious “nones” such as agnostics or atheists (35%), and Buddhists or Hindus (34%). In contrast, over a quarter of those that identified with the Jewish or Mainline Protestant faith were over the age of 65. 




*Please note that, according to the Pew Research Center: "Sample sizes and margins of error vary from subgroup to subgroup, from year to year and from state to state."

Racial and Ethnic Distribution

Racial and Ethnic Distribution of Religious Landscape in the U.S. (2014)

Racial and ethnic distribution data show that the majority of Christians are white. Out of all the Christian denominations, Orthodox Christianity has the highest number of African Americans (8%). In contrast, few whites identify with Hinduism––a majority Asian religion. Further, the majority of those that identified as Historically Black Protestant were black, while about 5% identified as white or latino. 








*Please note that, according to the Pew Research Center: "Sample sizes and margins of error vary from subgroup to subgroup, from year to year and from state to state."

Educational Distribution 

Educational Distribution of Religious Landscape in the U.S. (2014)



An overwhelmingly high number of respondents (63%) who identified with the Jehovah's Witness faith had a high school education or less, followed by those who identified as Historically Black Protestant (52%). 

On the other hand, the nearly half  (48%) of those that identified as Hindu had a post-graduate. 






*Please note that, according to the Pew Research Center: "Sample sizes and margins of error vary from subgroup to subgroup, from year to year and from state to state."

Income Distribution

Income Distribution of Religious Landscape in the U.S. (2014)




When it comes to income distribution, nearly half of those that identified as Jewish (44%) made over $100,000 per year. 

While more than half of those that identified as Historically Black Protestant (53%) made less than $30,000 per year. 

Few (4%) of those surveyed that identified with the Jehovah's Witness faith made over $100,000 per year. 



*Please note that, according to the Pew Research Center: "Sample sizes and margins of error vary from subgroup to subgroup, from year to year and from state to state."

Marital Status

Marital Status of Religious Landscape in the U.S. (2014)

Over half of Mormons surveyed, 66%, were married; followed by Hindus (60%), and Jews (56%). 

In contrast, nearly half of the Muslims surveyed were single and never married, followed by Buddhists and those that didn't identify with any religion (both 37%). 


Those that identified as Historically Black Protestant had the highest percentage of widows (9%). 







*Please note that, according to the Pew Research Center: "Sample sizes and margins of error vary from subgroup to subgroup, from year to year and from state to state."


Data from the Pew Research Center.

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