George Barna's research organisation has discovered the following.
1. "Born Again Christians" number between 35-40% of the American Population
In Barna Research Group studies, born again Christians are not defined on the basis of characterizing themselves as "born again" but based upon their answers to two questions. The first is "have you ever made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in your life today?" If the respondent says "yes," then they are asked a follow-up question about life after death. One of the seven perspectives a respondent may choose is "when I die, I will go to Heaven because I have confessed my sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as my savior." Individuals who answer "yes" to the first question and select this statement as their belief about their own salvation are then categorized as "born again."
2. "Evangelicals" number around 7% of the American population
Barna surveys do not ask people to define themselves as “evangelical” but instead categorize people as such based on their beliefs. In this approach, evangelicals a subset of born again Christians. In addition to meeting the born again criteria (described below) evangelicals also meet seven other conditions. Those include saying their faith is very important in their life today; contending that they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; stating that Satan exists; maintaining that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not by being good or doing good deeds; asserting that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; saying that the Bible is totally accurate in all it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today. In this framework, being classified as “evangelical” is not dependent upon any kind of church or denominational affiliation or involvement.
Three other things of note:
1. The national percentage of "Born Again" Christians has not changed much in 10 years.
2. The national percentage of "Evangelicals" has been steady at 7% for 10 years.
3. The amount of "No Religion" stated on the Census form (an indication of secularism) has risen dramatically from 8.4% in 1990 to 15.0% in 2000.