Pew’s Religious Census

In other demographic news, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life today released its massive U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, which is based on 35,000 respondents from every conceivable affiliation. Pew tells us that 0.4 percent of the US population belongs to the Church of God Cleveland Tennessee, and 0.3 percent belongs to the Unitarian (Universalist) church. (Wiccans are in the "less than 0.3 percent" catch-all category.)

Massachusetts and Connecticut/Rhode Island (the latter two states are counted as one) stand out as the most Catholic in the US, with 43 percent of the adult population in that church. (Click here to get neat maps that allow you to see the breakdown for each state, or see the table on page 100 of the full report.) But the Catholic Church seems to be changing rapidly. For one thing, it’s getting smaller: 31 percent of adults say they were raised Catholic, but only 24 percent say they now consider themselves Catholic. (Conversely, only 7 percent of adults say they were raised without any religious instruction, but 16 percent now say they are unaffiliated with any church.) At the same time, it’s becoming more Hispanic: 85 percent of all Catholics over the age of 70 are non-Hispanic white, but only 47 percent of Catholics between 18 and 29 are in that category — with 45 percent identifying themselves as Hispanic.

Besides membership numbers, the report has data on educational attainment, marital status, and the number of children typically raised by children in each religious group. The US Census doesn’t touch this stuff, so the Pew report is probably the closest thing to an accurate reading of religion in America.