How Immigration Has Transformed the Religious Landscape of San Antonio, Texas

The United States is witnessing a decline in its Christian population, while the number of adults who do not identify with any organized religion is on the rise. This shift is taking place across the country and is affecting all regions, demographic groups, and ages. The census does not ask Americans about their religion, so there are no official government statistics on the religious makeup of the US. Surveys of the general public usually include some questions about religious affiliation, but they generally do not interview enough people or ask questions detailed enough to describe the entire religious landscape.

The results of the Pew Research Center's Religious Landscape Study indicate that Christians have likely lost ground, not only in their relative participation in the US population, but also in absolute numbers. Catholics, for example, are defined as all respondents who claim to be Catholic, regardless of their specific beliefs and whether or not they attend Mass regularly. The terms “unaffiliated” and “none” religious are used interchangeably throughout this report. This group includes atheists and agnostics who identify themselves, as well as those who describe their religion as “nothing in particular”.

One of the most important factors in the decline in the proportion of Christians and the growth of “none” is generational replacement. As the millennial generation enters adulthood, its members show much lower levels of religious affiliation, including less connection to Christian churches, than previous generations. Only 16 percent of millennials are Catholic and only 11 percent identify with mainstream Protestantism. Christianity, and especially Catholicism, has been losing more followers due to religious change than it has been gaining.

More than 85% of American adults were raised as Christians, but nearly a quarter of those who were raised as Christians no longer identify with Christianity. Former Christians represent 19.2% of the United States population. Both traditional and historically black Protestant traditions have lost more members than they have gained through religious change, but within Christianity, the greatest net losses by far have been experienced by Catholics. Nearly one-third of American adults (31.7%) say they were raised Catholic. Among that group, 41% no longer identify with Catholicism.

This means that 12.9% of American adults are former Catholics, while only 2% of American adults have converted to Catholicism from another religious tradition. No other religious group in the survey has such an uneven ratio between losses and gains. The evangelical Protestant tradition is the only major Christian group in the survey that has gained more members than it has lost due to religious change. Immigration has had a tremendous impact on San Antonio's religious landscape over time. The city has seen an influx of people from Latin America and other parts of the world who have brought with them their own unique religious traditions and beliefs. This has resulted in a diverse mix of religions being practiced in San Antonio today, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and many others. The influx of immigrants has also had an effect on Christianity in San Antonio.

While some churches have seen an increase in attendance due to immigration, others have seen a decrease as immigrants have chosen to practice their own religions instead. This has resulted in a shift away from traditional Christian denominations towards more diverse forms of Christianity such as Pentecostalism and Charismatic Christianity. Immigration has also had an impact on San Antonio's non-Christian population. The city has seen an increase in adherents to non-Christian religions such as Islam and Hinduism due to immigration from countries where these religions are practiced more widely. In conclusion, immigration has had a profound effect on San Antonio's religious landscape over time. The city is now home to a wide variety of religions and beliefs that reflect its diverse population.