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Monday, March 20, 2023

White Christians in Decline

 Robert P. Jones:

[All] white Christian subgroups—white evangelical Protestant, white non-evangelical/mainline Protestant, and white Catholic—have declined across the last two decades. Notably, in the last ten years, white evangelical Protestants have experienced the steepest decline. As recently as 2006, white evangelical Protestants comprised nearly one-quarter of Americans (23%). By the time of Trump’s rise to power, their numbers had dipped to 16.8%. Today, white evangelical Protestants comprise only 13.6% of Americans. As a result of this precipitous decline, white evangelical Protestants are now roughly the same size as white non-evangelical/mainline Protestants, a group that experienced its own decline decades early, but has now generally stabilized.


As the numbers of white Christians have dropped, their presence in our two political parties has also shifted. Two decades ago, white Christians comprised approximately 8 in 10 Republicans, compared to about half of Democrats, a gap of about 30 percentage points. As their numbers have declined, this gap has increased to about 45 percentage points, with white Christians continuing to account for about 7 in 10 Republicans but only about one quarter of Democrats.


If we overlay the current ethno-religious composition of our two political parties onto the generational cohort chart, we see a stunning result. In terms of its racial and religious composition, the Democratic Party looks like 20-year-old America, while the Republican Party looks like 80-year-old America.