Sunday, October 2, 2016

Number Of Religiously Unaffiliated "Nones" In US Rises to 25%

I have good news to report from the trenches of the secular front on the ongoing secularization of the US. The number of religiously unaffiliated "nones" has risen to 25% of the US population according to a recent PPRI survey, up from the 22.8% reported in the 2014 Pew Religious Landscape survey.

From the report:

In 1991, only six percent of Americans identified their religious affiliation as “none,” and that number had not moved much since the early 1970s. By the end of the 1990s, 14% of the public claimed no religious affiliation. The rate of religious change accelerated further during the late 2000s and early 2010s, reaching 20% by 2012. Today, one-quarter (25%) of Americans claim no formal religious identity, making this group the single largest “religious group” in the U.S.

More young adults are unaffiliated than in the past too. While it is no surprise that younger people tend to be less religious, the percentage of young adults who are less religious is increasing over time. Thirty years ago in 1986, only 10% of 18-29 year olds were religiously unaffiliated. That doubled to 20% in 1996, and has nearly doubled since then to 39%. Interestingly, there are more seniors 65+ who are religiously unaffiliated today than there were 18-29 year olds back in 1986.

The rate in which those raised unaffiliated remain unaffiliated has been increasing as well.

This means that the secular trend is increasing with time on pretty much every front and that the trend is very unlikely to reverse any time soon, if ever. It seems that every year atheists like myself who want the US to become less religious get good news as each survey that comes out reports on an increase of "nones" and a decrease of religiosity. At this rate the US might be majority unaffiliated by 2040, but I sure hope it's sooner than that. The break down of the influence of religious institutions coupled with the rise of irreligiosity among the millennials might have a snow ball effect that expedites the trend even faster in the decades ahead. The next generation below millennials will be even less religious and the children of millennials will be raised with not only less religion but less social pressure to be religious. The "coming out" effect will mean a more hospitable climate for atheists and as a result there will be much less pressure to believe in a god and more atheists.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the African American community during this time as they are the most religious demographic in the US. I hope the rates of religious unaffiliation in the African American community by 2040 are at least as high or higher than the rates among white Americans today.

For further reading on why people leave religion, read this post: Religion Is Declining In The US, But Why? Here's A Few Explanations

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