Researchers find only 10.8 percent without ties to a religious group.|
The Associated Press
More Americans are active in religious groups than previously thought, and many others without ties to congregations still believe in God or a higher power, according to a broad survey of faith in America released Monday.
The study also found that most traditional Christians reject the label "evangelical," preferring to describe themselves as "Bible-believing" or "born again."
The survey was conducted by the Baylor University sociology department and the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion.
Researchers found that only 10.8 percent of Americans have no ties to a congregation, denomination or faith group. Previous surveys had put that figure at 14 percent, overlooking about 10 million people involved in some form of organized religion, the Baylor report said.
Other surveys have also overlooked millions of evangelicals, because respondents who belonged to nondenominational groups or megachurches would often report that they had no denomination and were wrongly counted as unaffiliated, the study's authors say.
Baylor researchers found that one-third of Americans are evangelical Protestant, just under one-quarter are mainline Protestant, one-fifth are Roman Catholic and 5 percent are black Protestant. Jews comprise2.5 percent of the population, while 5 percent belong to other faiths.
More than 60 percent of the unaffiliated say they believe in a higher power, and nearly one-third pray at least occasionally.
The Gallup survey of 1,721 respondents has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.