Main | Thursday, March 14, 2013

20% Of Americans Have "No Religion"

According to a just-released biannual survey, the number of Americans who say they have "no religion" has almost quadrupled to 20% in the last 40 years.
On American attitudes toward religion, UC Berkeley researchers found that 20 percent of a nationally representative group reported no religious preference. That's a jump from 1990 when all but 8 percent of Americans polled identified with an organized faith. "This continues a trend of Americans disavowing a specific religious affiliation that has accelerated greatly since 1990," said Hout, lead author of the study. Hout and Fischer are authors of the General Social Survey study that in 2002 first identified a rise in the number of "unchurched." They are careful to distinguish the survey category of "no religion," which means individuals who are not part of an organized religion, from "atheists," who do not believe in God and made up just 3 percent of those interviewed last year. Meanwhile, just 8 percent of those surveyed said they were raised with no religion.
More from the analysis: "Liberals are far more likely to claim 'no religion' (40 percent) than conservatives (9 percent). Men are more likely than women to claim 'no religion' (24 percent of men versus 16 percent of women). More than one-third of 18-to-24-year-olds claimed "no religion" compared to just 7 percent of those 75 and older."  That last line is especially encouraging.

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