AMERICANS CHANGE religious affiliation early and often. In total, about half of American adults have changed religious affiliation at least once during their lives. Most people who change their religion leave their childhood faith before age 24, and many of those who change religion do so more than once. These are among the key findings of a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life. The survey documents the fluidity of religious affiliation in the US and describes in detail the patterns and reasons for change....

The new survey is a follow-up to the "U.S. Religious Landscape Survey," conducted by the Pew Forum in 2007 and released in 2008, and is based on recontact interviews with members of the largest segments of the population that have changed religious affiliation....

The 2007 survey found that more than one-in-four American adults (28 percent) have changed their religious affiliation from that in which they were raised. This number includes people who have changed from one major religious tradition to another, for instance, from Protestantism to Catholicism or from Judaism to no religion. If change within religious traditions is included (e. g., from one Protestant denominational family to another), the survey found that roughly 44 percent of Americans now profess a religious affiliation different from that in which they were raised....

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Worshipper, not worrier
June 8, 2009

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