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It’s sometimes said that the Democratic Party is less comfortable with religion than the GOP. And it is true that, on the whole, Democrats are less religious than Republicans. But this glosses over profound racial and ethnic differences within the Democratic Party: While white Democrats are less likely to be religious than Republicans, nonwhite Democrats – who mostly identify as black or Hispanic – more closely resemble Republicans overall on a host of religious measures.

For example, among Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party, 95% of all nonwhites (which includes 99% of blacks) say they believe in God or a higher power, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. This is exactly the same level of belief seen among Republicans and Republican leaners. By contrast, 78% of white Democrats believe in God or a higher power. And the share of white Democrats who say they do not believe in God or any higher power (21%) is quadruple the level seen among nonwhite Democrats (5%), as well as among both white and nonwhite Republicans (5% each).

There is a similar pattern when it comes to belief in God as described in the Bible. Nonwhite Democrats are roughly twice as likely as white Democrats to say they believe in the biblical God (61% vs. 32%), and are only a little less likely than Republicans (70%) to say this. In addition, nonwhite Democrats are almost twice as likely as white Democrats to say they believe that God or another higher power is all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful (64% vs. 35%). Among all Republicans, 67% say they believe this.

Major demographic shifts are reshaping the United States. The country is growing in population while becoming older and more racially and ethnically diverse. To some extent, these demographic trends are playing out differently in America’s urban, suburban and rural communities.

These three community types are also on different paths politically. Rural counties have moved in a Republican direction and urban areas have become even more Democratic over the past two decades; the suburbs remain about evenly divided between the two parties.

Despite these demographic and political differences, people across community types have much in common. For example, they are about equally likely to say they are attached to their communities, and they share some of the same concerns about issues in their areas.

1 Suburbs are growing faster than urban and rural areas. Since 2000, suburban counties saw a 16% increase in population, compared with increases of 13% and 3%, respectively, in urban and rural counties. The overall share of U.S. residents who live in suburban counties has also risen during this period, while holding steady in urban counties and declining in rural ones.

The growth in suburban areas since 2000 is driven by several factors. More than 6 million Americans who used to live in urban and rural counties have migrated to the suburbs, and more than 5 million international immigrants have settled there as well. While urban counties have also had an influx of international immigrants since 2000 (7 million), they have lost 5 million residents to suburban and rural areas. In contrast, in rural counties, the number that moved out to other types of communities since 2000 modestly exceeded the number that moved in. All county types saw more births than deaths during this time period.

2 Suburbs are aging more rapidly than urban and rural areas. Nationally and in each community type, the 65-and-older population has grown more sharply since 2000 than any other age group. But while older adults are a higher share of the population in rural areas, suburban counties have seen the largest increase. The 65-and-older population has grown 39% in the suburbs since 2000, compared with 26% in urban and 22% in rural counties.