My doctoral thesis examines religious switching in the USA, based on data from the Pew Research Center, comparing findings from the 2007 and 2014 Religious Landscape Surveys. I look at both religious conversion – i.e. switching from one religion to another, as well as denominational switching – i.e. switching between one denomination to another, within the same religious tradition. I compare the socio-demographic characteristics of switchers and stayers as well as their religious identification. I try to establish the role of religious switching and the interplay of prior and current religious affiliations in shaping patterns of religious behavior among members of all religious groups, including “religious nones.”
I attempt to analyze the impact of unstable, fluid identity and the possibility of creating new, hybrid forms of religion. I look at the ethnic aspect of religious identity and assess how permeable overlapping religious and ethnic boundaries are. I examine what effect, if any; religious switching has on political affiliation. Finally, I try to assess the relationship between religious switching and spirituality and a sense of wellbeing, in order to establish whether switchers conform to the stereotype of dissatisfied, spiritual seekers.