For the first time in its history, the United States does not have a Protestant majority, according to a new study. One reason: The number of Americans with no religious affiliation is on the rise.
Among the reasons for the change are the growth in nondenominational Christians who can no longer be categorized as Protestant, and a spike in the number of American adults who say they have no religion. The Pew study, released Tuesday, found that about 20 percent of Americans say they have no religious affiliation, an increase from 15 percent in the last five years.
American voters who describe themselves as having no religion vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. Pew found Americans with no religion support abortion rights and gay marriage at a much higher-rate than the U.S. public at large.
More growth in "nones" is expected. One-third of adults under age 30 have no religious affiliation, compared to 9 percent of people 65 and older. Pew researchers wrote that "young adults today are much more likely to be unaffiliated than previous generations were at a similar stage in their lives," and aren't expected to become more religiously active as they age.