The US state of Colorado is located in the west-central region of the country. It is home to a population of around 5.54 million individuals. The racial and ethnic makeup of this state is as follows: White (81.3%), Hispanic (20.7%), African American (4%), Asian American (2.8%), and Native American (1.1%). At least 7.2% identify as a different race and 0.1% identifies as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. In addition to the racial and ethnic diversity of this population, the residents of Colorado are also diverse in terms of religious identification. This article takes a closer look at the religious composition of the adult population of this state, according to the Pew Research Center.
The majority of the adult population of Colorado (64%) identifies as a follower of Christianity. The Christians in Colorado are predominantly white (71%) and between the ages of 18 and 49 (55%). The educational demographics as reported by these individuals is as follows: high school or less (34%), some university (33%), university (20%), and post-graduate education (13%). The majority are married (61%) and most (66%) are not parents.
Of the adult Christians in Colorado, over one-quarter (26%) report following the Evangelical Protestant sect. The Evangelical movement is considered multi-denominational and its doctrine relies heavily on the idea of spiritual rebirth. Its origin dates back to the late 18th century. In Colorado, Evangelical Protestants are predominantly white (77%) and between the ages of 18 and 49 (58%). Their educational level tends to be below a college degree, 37% report having a high school education or less and another 36% report having received an incomplete college education.
The second largest Christian group (16%) identifies as Catholic. One of the central ideas of this church is the Apostolic succession of its bishops, a name used to refer to one of its religious leaders. Catholicism is recognized for its long-lasting influence over the development of the majority of the world. This percentage of individuals identifying as Catholic represents a decrease from the 2010 results, when the number of Catholic followers was larger. This decrease could partially be explained by the relatively small sample size of the most recent survey.
Other Christian sects in Colorado include (as a percentage of the total Christian population): Mainline Protestant (15%), Black Protestant (2%), Mormon (2%), Orthodox (1%), Other (1%), and Jehovah’s Witness (less than 1%). Mainline Protestant refers to a variety of Protestant denominations that may include: Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, and Quaker to name a few. The term Black Protestant refers to a Protestant church that has traditionally been attended primarily by African American worshippers.
The second largest religious identity in Colorado are those who identify as non-religious or unaffiliated with a particular religion. Approximately 29% of the adult population of this state report this religious identity. The non-religious category is divided into 3 parts: those with no particular belief system (20%), agnostic (5%), and atheist (4%). Agnostics believe that humans lack sufficient scientific evidence to determine if a supernatural deity actually exists or not. Atheists, in contrast, do not believe that the existence of a supernatural deity is possible.
The non-religious adults in Colorado are predominantly white (75%) and between the ages of 18 and 49 (64%). The level of educational attainment as reported by these individuals is: high school or less (32%), some university (35%), university (21%), and post-graduate education (12%). Only 45% of these individuals report being married and another 35% report having never been married. Just over one-quarter of non-religious individuals in Colorado (26%) are parents.
Of the adult individuals polled by the Pew Research Center, 5% identified as belonging to a minority religion. These minority religions include Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and others. Of these denominations, the Jewish and Buddhist faiths have the largest following, each with 1% of respondents under this category. Islam and Hinduism each have less than 1% of the adults in this category. Approximately 2% of respondents identified as belonging to some other world religion. The majority of the adherents to these minority religions can be found living in the Denver metropolitan area, which is the capital of Colorado. Of these groups, the Jewish population has most likely been in this state for longer than the others, with records of their arrival dating back to the Gold Rush era of the late 19th century.
Religious Behavior In Colorado
The 504 respondents in this poll were asked questions about both their religious identity and their religious behaviors. For example, adults were asked about how certain they are of the existence of a god. To this, 55% of respondents claimed to be absolutely certain of their belief in a god. This was followed by: fairly certain (23%), not too certain (7%), don’t know (1%), do not believe at all (10%), and not sure (3%). Additionally, 47% of the adults polled responded that religion plays a very important role in their lives. Around 28% answered that religion is only somewhat important to them, 12% said it is not too important, and 13% said it is not important at all.
Of those individuals who identified with some type of religion, only 30% reported attending a religious event or service once a week. An additional 31% reported attending once a month or a few times every year, while 38% said they never attended religious services. The act of praying, however, seems to be more commonly practiced with 50% of respondents claiming to participate in prayer at least once a day. Around 28% of the group reported never or rarely ever praying. The vast majority of adults who identify as religious in Colorado also responded that they rarely ever get together in religious study or prayer groups. Only 18% of respondents said they attend these groups at least once a week.
In terms of the spiritual beliefs, thoughts, and attitudes held by Colorado adults (whether religious or not), 55% of individuals polled claimed to feel a sense of spiritual well-being most of the time. Additionally, 47% of respondents reported feeling in awe of the universe on a weekly basis. Around 43% of Colorado adults rely on their innate sense of right from wrong to guide them through their daily lives, rather than on spiritual or religious scripture.
About the Author
Amber is a freelance writer, English as a foreign language teacher, and Spanish-English translator. She lives with her husband and 3 cats.
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