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Mainline Protestants now outnumber white evangelicals

Mainline Protestants now outnumber white evangelicals

An observation by the founder of the Episcopal Café, Jim Naughton: Mainline Protestants now outnumber white evangelicals.

Other data from the PRRI 2020 Census suggests mainline church membership will exceed will white evangelical membership in the coming years. For instance, young people are more likely to be mainline than evangelical. And evangelicals are older.

























For now, White Christianity’s downward trend of the last few decades has paused. PRRI:

Over the last few decades, the proportion of the U.S. population that is white Christian has declined by nearly one-third. As recently as 1996, almost two-thirds of Americans (65%) identified as white and Christian. By 2006, that had declined to 54%, and by 2017 it was down to 43%[4]. The proportion of white Christians hit a low point in 2018, at 42%, and rebounded slightly in 2019 and 2020, to 44%. That tick upward indicates the decline is slowing from its pace of losing roughly 11% per decade.

Addendum. For a recent discussion of the classifications mainline, evangelical, etc. see What is a mainline Christian, anyway?
A recent survey raises new questions about an old tradition (RNS).


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[In the future please follow comment policy and indicate your first and last name. – eds.]
I would urge Episcopal Café to clarify the headline and yo acknowledge that there are Episcopalians who do not meet the criteria used to define “white mainline Protestant” in the study. The headline implies that white mainline Protestants are the only members who count, literally. As a Hispanic Episcopalian (mainline Protestant), I can say this is part of the systemic problem we face, namely the assumption of white non-Hispanic as the norm. The article says that only non-Hispanic white people were counted for mainline Protestant. Black, Hispanic/Latin ,(of any race), AAPI, Indigenous, and others were categorized separately as evangelical Protestants or non-evangelical Protestants and were not counted towards the mainline Protestant or white evangelical Protestant numbers.

John Collins

Added. The form, at least on mobile, does not ask for last name.

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