"This report provides solid evidence of a new, second wave of white Christian decline that is occurring among white evangelical Protestants just over the last decade in the USA", said Robert P. Jones, PRRI's CEO and author of "The End of White Christian America".
According to a study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), the number of white Christians now makes up less than half of America's population.
"Prior to 2008, white evangelical Protestants seemed to be exempt from the waves of demographic change and disaffiliation that were eroding the membership bases of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics", he said.
Even white evangelicals, a group typically viewed as being shrink-proof, have seen a drop-off in numbers. Over 60 percent of inhabitants are of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Kentucky and West Virginia are white Christians.
A survey released Wednesday indicates that white Christians are no longer a majority population in the U.S., as the number of people eschewing organized religion and an influx of immigrants has shifted the country's demographics in recent years. Just a decade ago, white evangelicals were still the largest faith group in the party, at 17% of the total. Over the same period, white Catholics dropped five percentage points from 16% to 11%, and white mainline Protestants have shed an equal number, decreasing from 18% to 13%.
The largest non-Christian category is "unaffiliated" - those who identify as atheist, agnostic or "nothing in particular" - making up 24 percent of the population.
Almost half of all LGBT Americans, 46 percent, also identify as religiously unaffiliated.
White evangelicals remain concentrated primarily in the South and Midwest, with white Catholicism more prominent in the Northeast than elsewhere. The PRRI poll released Wednesday included a more in-depth focus on race and religion. More than half (52%) espouse the historically Catholic doctrine that good deeds and faith are required to get into heaven.
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White Christians are aging.
"There is no one explanation, but you can't answer why without looking at the rise of Christian conservatives, " Cox said. President Donald Trump, who repeatedly promised to protect the religious liberty of Christians, drew 80 percent of votes by White evangelicals, a constituency that remains among his strongest supporters. Almost six in ten (58%) religiously unaffiliated Americans identify as secular, someone who is not religious; 16% of religiously unaffiliated Americans nonetheless report that they identify as a "religious person".
"White evangelical Protestants are in decline - along with white Mainline Protestants and white Catholics". Fewer than one in three (29%) Democrats today are white Christian, compared to half (50%) one decade earlier.
Rabbi Denise Eger, founding rabbi of the Kol Ami synagogue in West Hollywood and an LGBT activist, said the high numbers of unaffiliated LGBT persons should surprise no one. Hispanic Catholics are more evenly distributed, with five percent of the L.G.B.T. community identifying as Hispanic Catholic, compared to 7 percent overall. On the other side of this spectrum, no state is less diverse than MS in which 60 percent of people identify as Baptist.
The report also takes a closer look at states, in which it says there are 20 states where no religious group owns a greater share than the religiously unaffiliated. It includes a sample of more than 101,000 Americans from all 50 states.
The rise in the religiously unaffiliated means people must now ask old questions in new ways, said Jennifer W. Davidson, an associate professor of theology and worship at the American Baptist Seminary of the West.
'We need to begin asking people, "How do you make meaning in your life?"