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Changing FaithThe Dynamics and Consequences of Americans' Shifting Religious Identities$
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Darren E. Sherkat

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814741269

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814741269.001.0001

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Religious Switching and Religious Change

Religious Switching and Religious Change

(p.50) 2 Religious Switching and Religious Change
Changing Faith

Darren E. Sherkat

NYU Press

This chapter examines the influence of voluntary shifts in religious identifications on the dynamics of religious affiliation over time. Using data from the 1973–2012 General Social Survey, it analyzes the predictors of religious switching and apostasy to highlight people's tendency to shift their religious identifications. It also considers trends in religious switching and patterns of mobility across religious groups and how these trends and patterns vary across generations and across ethnic groups. Finally, it explores the impact of ethnicity, gender, social status, and geographic mobility on religious switching, apostasy, and which religious changes are most and least likely. It shows that the observed changes in religious identification over the past four decades and across many generations are a function of the ethnic milieu created by patterns of immigration.

Keywords:   religious identification, religious affiliation, religious switching, apostasy, ethnicity, gender, social status, geographic mobility, religious change, immigration

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