The Changing Religious and Demographic Landscape in America: Trends and Public Opinion

On March 23rd, 2016, Dr. Robert P. Jones discussed how the United State’s demographical trends in religion and other demographics, such as race, are changing.

The basis for his view on the changing of America’s demographics are 30 years worth of statistics from the General Social Survey as well as 150,000 interviews of Americans that he and his colleagues performed. With the information from these sources, Dr. Jones attempts to isolate the major reasons for the current trends away from the traditional Caucasian, Protestant way of life that has, for may years and several generations, dominated the American population.

The interviews and statistics that he collected and researched cover a wide variety of topics. Some of the topics that he mentioned his discussion on the topic of America’s religious demographics are proportion of Caucasians who reported they were Protestant and those who reported that they were Catholic, the proportion of non-Caucasian individuals in the United States who reported that they, too, were Protestant and Catholic over the years between 1974 and 2016.

From this data, he was able to write a book that his talk is largely based from called “End of White Christian America” that is set to be released in July of this year. Using the information and facts that he gathered and wrote about in his book, Dr. Jones sets out to explain how the American religious demographics and trends have changed throughout the 32 years since 1974 and the reasons why he thinks that the trends in religious populations have changed into what they are currently. Amongst the points that he talks about that he sees as affecting the religious demographics and trends were the economic realities of Americans, the expanding number of non-Caucasian races living in the United States and the current political climate.

You can find a copy of his presentation here.

Dr. Robert P. Jones is the CEO of Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and a leading scholar and commentator on religion, values, and public life. He is the author of two academic books and numerous peer-review articles on religion and public policy. His latest book, The End of White Christian America”, will be published by Simon & Schuster in July 2016.

Additionally, Dr. Jones writes a monthly column at The Atlantic on politics and culture. His “Faith by the Numbers” segment is also a regular feature on Interfaith Voices, the nation’s leading religion news magazine, which is carried on NPR stations around the country. Dr. Jones serves as the Co-Chair of the national steering committee for the Religion and Politics Section at the American Academy of Religion and is a member of the editorial board for “Politics and Religion,” a journal published by Cambridge University Press for the American Political Science Association. He holds a Ph.D. from Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion, which named him “Distinguished Alumnus of the Year” in 2013. He also holds an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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