Study details patterns and reasons for changes

Washington, D.C.—In a noon EDT conference call for journalists on Monday, April 27, 2009, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life will release a new survey that documents the fluidity of religious affiliation in the U.S. and describes in detail the patterns and major reasons for change.


Mary Schultz
Communications Manager

“Faith in Flux: Changes in Religious Affiliation in the U.S.” is a follow-up to the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted by the Pew Forum in 2007 and released in 2008, which found that a remarkably high number of people have changed their religious affiliation since childhood. The new poll offers insight into how often people change and the main reasons they give for changing their religion – or leaving religion altogether – which differ widely depending on the origin and destination of the convert.

The survey is based on callback interviews with more than 2,800 people who were originally polled for the Landscape Survey and represent the largest segments of the population that have changed religious affiliation. This includes former Catholics who are now unaffiliated or have become Protestant, former Protestants who are now unaffiliated, those raised unaffiliated who now belong to a religious faith, and people who have gone from one denominational family to another within Protestantism (e.g., were raised Baptist and are now Methodist).  The survey also includes nearly 1,000 interviews with people who still belong to the group in which they were raised. In total, the new survey allows for in-depth analysis of about eight-in-ten of those who now have a different religious affiliation than the one in which they were raised.

Telephone News Conference

Luis Lugo, Director, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
John Green, Senior Fellow, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Greg Smith, Research Fellow, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Monday, April 27, 2009, noon EDT

Email Robert Mills at to reserve your place

The online presentation of the “Faith in Flux” survey findings, which includes an interactive graphic, will be available at at noon EDT on April 27. For the related “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey,” visit

The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Lifedelivers timely, impartial information on issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs. The Pew Forum is a nonpartisan, nonadvocacy organization and does not take positions on policy debates. Based in Washington, D.C., the Pew Forum is a project of the Pew Research Center, which is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.