U.S. Religious Landscape Survey

In recent decades, much high-quality research has been done on the religious makeup of the United States and on the way religion relates to politics and public life. Nevertheless, there are still major gaps in our knowledge of the American religious landscape.

For instance, estimates of the size of religious communities in the U.S. – especially the smaller groups – are often contested, basic information on the religious beliefs and practices of many groups is lacking and there is little solid data on the demographic characteristics of many of America’s newer faiths.

The increasing diversity of the American religious landscape, the remarkable dynamism of its faith communities and the pervasive presence of religion in the American public square all serve to underscore the pressing need for up-to-date, reliable information on these and other questions.

Building on its own work as well as others’ previous research, the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project has conducted a path-breaking survey on American religion that seeks to address many of these important issues. The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey includes reliable estimates of the size of religious groups in the United States as well as detailed information on their demographic characteristics, religious beliefs and practices, and basic social and political values. Based on interviews with a representative sample of more than 35,000 Americans, this study will serve as the baseline for similar large-scale surveys the project plans to conduct periodically.

For the online presentation of the findings of the Landscape Survey, which includes interactive mapping, dynamic charts that illustrate key findings and a variety of other tools that are designed to help users delve deeper into the material, visit the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.

 

Report

  • Fighting Over Darwin, State by State

    Feb 03, 2014 - The debate over whether and how to teach public school students about evolution may be an old one, but it shows no signs of abating.

  • Celebrating Christmas and the Holidays, Then and Now

    Dec 18, 2013 - Nine-in-ten Americans say they celebrate Christmas, and three-quarters say they believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. But only about half see Christmas mostly as a religious holiday, while one-third view it as more of a cultural holiday. Virtually all Christians (96%) celebrate Christmas, and two-thirds see it as a religious holiday. In addition, fully eight-in-ten non-Christians in America also celebrate Christmas, but most view it as a cultural holiday rather than a religious occasion.

  • A Portrait of Jewish Americans

    Oct 01, 2013 - American Jews overwhelmingly say they are proud to be Jewish and have a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people, according to a major new survey by the Pew Research Center.

  • The Growth of the Nonreligious

    Jul 02, 2013 - About half of Americans say the growing number of “people who are not religious” is bad for American society. But a similar share say either that this trend is good or that it does not make much difference, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

  • One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation

    Oct 10, 2012 - In the last five years, the unaffiliated have increased from 15% to 20% of all U.S. adults, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center's Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life project. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics, as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation.

  • Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths

    Jul 19, 2012 - When it comes to religion, the Asian-American community is a study in contrasts, encompassing groups that run the gamut from highly religious to highly secular. A new survey report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life examines the Asian-American population from the angle of religious affiliation, highlighting the beliefs, practices and views of diverse faith groups.

  • Religion in Prisons: A 50-State Survey of Prison Chaplains

    Mar 22, 2012 - According to a Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey of professional prison chaplains, America’s state penitentiaries are a bustle of religious activity. More than seven-in-ten chaplains say efforts by inmates to convert others is common, as is religious switching among prisoners. The chaplains consider religion-related programs in prison to be critical to the rehabilitation of prisoners.

  • Islam Was No. 1 Topic in 2010

    Feb 24, 2011 - Islam, notably the mosque controversy in New York City, dominated mainstream media coverage, pushing the Catholic Church from the No. 1 spot.

  • How Religious Is Your State?

    Dec 21, 2009 - Which of the 50 states has the most religious population? Since there are many ways to define "religious," there is no single answer to this question. But to give a sense of how the states stack up, the Pew Forum used polling data to rank them on four measures.

  • The 'Zeal of the Convert': Is It the Real Deal?

    Oct 29, 2009 - A common perception about individuals who switch religions is that they are very fervent about their new faith. A new Pew Forum analysis finds that people who have switched faiths (or joined a faith after being raised unaffiliated with a religion) are indeed slightly more religious than those who have remained in their childhood faith.

  • A Portrait of Mormons in the United States

    Jul 24, 2009 - In Utah, July 24 is Pioneer Day, a state holiday commemorating the day in 1847 when the first Mormon settlers, led by Brigham Young, entered the Salt Lake Valley. A new Pew Forum analysis based on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey offers an in-depth look at the demographic characteristics, religious beliefs and practices and social and political views of Mormons.

  • Faith in Flux: Changes in Religious Affiliation in the U.S.

    Apr 27, 2009 - Americans change religious affiliation early and often. A new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life documents the fluidity of faith in the U.S. and describes in detail the patterns and reasons for change.

  • A Religious Portrait of African-Americans

    Jan 30, 2009 - In advance of Black History Month, a new analysis by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that African-Americans are markedly more religious on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole.

  • Three Ideas on Why Americans Remain Religous (Fall 2008 Trust Magazine article)

    Oct 01, 2008 - Trust asked Forum Director Luis Lugo and Senior Fellow John Green about the findings of the recent U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.

  • Pilgrims' Progress, American Style (Fall 2008 Trust Magazine article)

    Oct 01, 2008 - The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life shows again why the role of religion in American life is not an underlying discussion but the discussion.

  • Palin V.P. Nomination Puts Pentecostalism in the Spotlight

    Sep 12, 2008 - This analysis based on the Pew Forum's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey examines the demographic, religious and political characteristics of Pentecostals in the United States. GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin attended a church affiliated with the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination, from the time she was a teenager until 2002.

  • U.S. Religious Landscape Survey: Religious Beliefs and Practices

    Jun 23, 2008 - The second report of a landmark survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life that examines the tremendous diversity of Americans’ religious beliefs and practices as well as their social and political views.

  • U.S. Religious Landscape Survey: Religious Affiliation

    Feb 25, 2008 - An extensive new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details the religious affiliation of the American public and explores the shifts taking place in the U.S. religious landscape.

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