...the latest findings, best methods and newest ideas in the scientific study of religion.
ARDA Guiding Papers Series

American Religionís Mega-Trends: Gleanings from Forty Years of Research

by J. Gordon Melton


This paper summarizes data accumulated over the last forty years by the Institute for the Study of American Religion, a religious studies research facility based in Santa Barbara, California. In doing so, the paper covers major trends in American religion including changes in the percent of people who are unaffiliated, the arrival of Asian and middle Eastern religious traditions, religious responses to modernism, the persistence of denominations, religious switching, and responses to globalization.

[Download complete paper in PDF format]


Please use the following when citing this paper:

Melton, Gordon J. 2010. American Religionís Mega-Trends: Gleanings from Forty Years of Research (ARDA Guiding Paper Series). State College, PA: The Association of Religion Data Archives at The Pennsylvania State University, from http://www.thearda.com/rrh/papers/guidingpapers.asp.

J. Gordon Melton is founding director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion and a research specialist in religion and New Religious Movements with the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.