Chicago, Ill., Jul 20, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Protestants may soon account for less than half of the United States population for the first time since the country's founding, according to a survey released by the University of Chicago yesterday, reported Reuters.
From 1993 to 2002, Protestant membership in the U.S. fell from 63 percent of the population to 52 percent, and researchers predict that it will continue to drop to below half in the next two years.
While the number of Protestants has decreased and the number of people claiming no religion has increased, from nine to 14 percent, the number of Catholics in 2002 remained fairly steady at about 25 percent.
The survey found that Protestants are in decline because younger adherents are dropping out. Also, some Protestants have now decided to identify themselves simply as "Christian", explains the report. However, researchers expect that immigration will likely keep Catholic rates stable.