American Religious Identification Survey 2008

The Program on Public Values at Trinity College just released the results from their 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS 2008 Survey). Here are some highlights from the report:

  • The number of American adults identifying themselves as Christians has declined. 86% of American adults identified as Christians in 1990 and 76% in 2008. 34% of American adults considered themselves “Born Again or Evangelical Christians” in 2008.
  • The Catholic population of the United States has shifted away from the Northeast and towards the Southwest. Between 1990 and 2008, the Catholic population proportion of the New England states fell from 50% to 36% and in New York it fell from 44% to 37%, while it rose in California from 29% to 37% and in Texas from 23% to 32%.
  • The percentage of Americans claiming no religion has increased. The percentage jumped from 8.2% in 1990 to 14.2% in 2001, and has increased to 15% in 2008. Northern New England has now taken over from the Pacific Northwest as the least religious section of the country, with Vermont leading all other states by a full 9 points.
  • Changes in religious self-identification since 2001 have been moderate in comparison to the 1990s, which was a period of significant shifts in the religious composition of the United States.

You can read highlights of the ARIS 2008 Survey here or download a pdf of the full report here. Albert Mohler offers some good commentary on the data with his post: Faith as Fashion Statement — The New Religious Reality?

Update: Stephen Prothero questions the survey’s findings. Albert Mohler responds.

Related post: Most and Least Religious States


  1. We will be working extra hard out here on the left coast to reclaim our title.

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Rambling – Awww, you really know how to hurt a guy! 🙂 I will be praying that as a follower of the 道, you will eventually come to know Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  3. Marilyn McCormick says:

    I would just like to verify the validity of the research and conclusion Jon Meacham
    presented in his article in Newsweek MAgazine, April 13, 2009 issue.
    It seems to me that Time magazine, not Newsweek, has surprisingly published positive .. even… views reflecting a more conservative position even producing a special publication about Jesus Christ. Anything can be made believeable for readers who are not independent or knowledgeable thinkers of any ilk, but where is the verification, the real truth? The Bible, I know, but there must be a user-friendly program to educate the people who have no other access to “The Truth” and as it relates to contemporary secular life styles.?

  4. Ray Fowler says:

    Marilyn – I just added an update to the post above. If you follow the links in the update, you will find some articles that question the findings of the survey and Newsweek’s interpretation of the data.

  5. Marilyn McCormick says:

    Thank you very much. I am just back at my desk and haven’t had a chance to read your update; will be back in touch and appreciate the information, Ray.
    Marilyn McCormick

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