I remember back in the early 1990s that there was some talk about the United States going from a plural majority Protestant nations, to a Roman Catholic one at some point in the early 21st century. This in itself wouldn’t be that big of a deal today, Canada already has more Catholics than Protestants (44% of the adult population is Catholic), and it has retained the dominance of Anglo-Protestant culture (also, the influence of Roman Catholicism in Quebec collapsed during the 1960s). But here in the United States things haven’t quite worked out. Latinos have become rapidly de-Catholicized, and only ~60% are Roman Catholic today. Additionally, American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population reports that Latinos went from being well underrepresented among those with “No Religion” in 1990 to almost establishing parity. Finally, there seems to be major defections among white ethnics; 33% of those with “No Religion” list at least some Irish ancestry. The likelihood of this is clinched by this chart:
Roman Catholics remain ~25% of the population, but this stability is likely purely a function of immigration from traditionally Catholic countries. I am generally wary of specific events serving as inflection points of social change, but I do wonder if the pedophile priest controversy was the last straw for many marginal “cultural Catholics,” for whom the religious identification was more a matter of ethnic loyalty and sentimentality. In any case, another warning about projecting too far into the future when it comes to demographic trends.