Eighteen percent have no explicit religious identity
PRINCETON, NJ -- The large majority of Americans -- 77% of the adult population -- identify with a Christian religion, including 52% who are Protestants or some other non-Catholic Christian religion, 23% who are Catholic, and 2% who affiliate with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Another 18% of Americans do not have an explicit religious identity and 5% identify with a non-Christian religion.
This breakdown is essentially the same as it was in 2011. Compared with last year, Protestant and Catholic identification dropped.
The 2012 findings on the breakdown of religious identification in the American population are based on more than 326,000 Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted between Jan. 2 and Nov. 30.
Mormons Most Religious of Any Faith
Mormons are by far the most religious of any group in this analysis, based on self-reported importance of religion and religious service attendance, followed by Protestants/other non-Catholic Christians and Muslims. Catholics are slightly less likely than these groups to say religion is important in their daily life and that they attend religious services frequently. Those who identify with a non-Christian religion other than Judaism or Islam are less religious still. And Jews are the least religious group measured.
The United States remains a largely Christian nation; more than nine in 10 Americans who have a religious identity are affiliated with a Christian religion. There has been little change in this portrait of religious identity in the U.S. from last year.
Mormons remain the most religious group of those measured, while Jews are the least. Protestants and Muslims continue to be slightly more religious than Catholics.
Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking Jan. 2-Nov. 30, 2012, with a random sample of 326,271 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cellphone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cellphone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.