May 3, 2012
A new study shows Mormonism is the fastest-growing faith in more than half of U.S. states, the Religion News Service reports. The 2012 Religious Congregations and Membership Study shows that Protestants and Catholics, who dominated the 20th century, are literally losing ground to the rapid rise of Mormons and, increasingly, Muslims. Mormons reported 2 million new adherents and new congregations in 295 U.S. counties were they didn't exist a decade ago, and were also were the fastest-growing group in 26 states, expanding beyond their historic home in Utah to the heart of the Bible Belt and as far away as Maine. Muslims came in second, with growth of 1 million adherents in 197 new counties, to a total of about 2.6 million -- and mosques have multiplied at a growth rate of about 50 percent. Overall, non-Christian groups grew by 32 percent in the past 10 years, and the study also found that while upwards of 80 percent of Americans claim to be Christians, only about 49 percent are affiliated with a local congregation.