Religious Change and Continuity in the United States: 2006-2012
Emerson, Michael O.; Essenburg, Laura J.
Examining the same adult Americans from 2006 to 2012, this report explores how Americans have changed and stayed the same in their religious beliefs and practices. We find that 15% of adult Americans switched religious traditions during this period, with nearly 40% of those switchers exiting religious traditions altogether. The next most common move was to Evangelical Protestantism from other faith traditions, including some who in 2006 were not in a religious tradition. We also find substantial volatility in worship attendance and congregational switching. Only 45% of adult Americans attend worship with the same frequency in 2012 as they did in 2006, and over one-third switched congregations. Other changes identified in this report are a declining confidence in clergy, an increased confidence in faith and God’s care, and a substantial jump in the proportion of Americans who view all religions with equal respect.