Religious 'Nones' are now the largest single group in the U.S. : NPR


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  evilone  •  one month ago  •  17 comments

By:   Jason DeRose (NPR)

Religious 'Nones' are now the largest single group in the U.S.  : NPR
28% of Americans are now religiously unaffiliated. A new study from Pew Research looks at how atheists, agnostics and those whose religion is "nothing in particular" view God, religion and morality.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

January 24, 202410:00 AM ET

Jason DeRose

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Religiously unaffiliated people now make up 28% of U.S. adults, according to a new study from Pew Research. That's a larger cohort than Catholics or evangelical Protestants.

Religiously unaffiliated people now make up 28% of U.S. adults, according to a new study from Pew Research. That's a larger cohort than Catholics or evangelical Protestants.

When Americans are asked to check a box indicating their religious affiliation, 28% now check 'none.'

A new study from Pew Research finds that the religiously unaffiliated - a group comprised of atheists, agnostic and those who say their religion is "nothing in particular" - is now the largest cohort in the U.S. They're more prevalent among American adults than Catholics (23%) or evangelical Protestants (24%).

Back in 2007, Nones made up just 16% of Americans, but Pew's new survey of more than 3,300 U.S. adults shows that number has now risen dramatically.

Researchers refer to this group as the "Nones."

Pew asked respondents what - if anything - they believe. The research organization found that Nones are not a uniform group.

Most Nones believe in God or another higher power, but very few attend any kind of religious service.

They aren't all anti-religious. Most Nones say religion does some harm, but many also think it does some good. Most have more positive views of science than those who are religiously affiliated; however, they reject the idea that science can explain everything.

Nones could prove to be an important political group

Gregory Smith at Pew was the lead researcher on the study, titled "Religious 'Nones' in America: Who They Are and What They Believe."

He says the growth of Nones could affect American public life.

"We know politically for example," Smith says, "that religious Nones are very distinctive. They are among the most strongly and consistently liberal and Democratic constituencies in the United States."

And that could change electoral politics in the coming decades.

The political power of white Evangelicals has been well-reported in recent decades, but their numbers are shrinking while the number of the more liberal Nones is on the rise.



7 in 10 U.S. adults consider themselves spiritual

However, Smith points out that Nones are also less civically engaged than those who identify with a religion - they're less likely to vote. So, while they identify as Democrats, getting them to the polls on election day may prove to be a challenge.

Within the Nones, however, atheists and agnostics are more likely to be politically and civically engaged, whereas those who responded that their religion is 'nothing in particular' are far less likely to vote.

Pew also found that, overall, Nones are less likely to volunteer in their local communities than religiously affiliated adults.

Logic and avoiding harm help moral decision making

Beyond their numbers and their behaviors, Pew also asked respondents what they actually believe.

The survey found Nones are less satisfied with their local communities and less satisfied with their social lives than religious people.



The importance of religion in the lives of Americans is shrinking

While many people of faith say they rely on scripture, tradition and the guidance of religious leaders to make moral decisions, Pew found that Nones say they're guided by logic or reason when making moral decisions.

"And huge numbers say the desire to avoid hurting other people factors prominently in how they think about right and wrong," says Smith.

People of faith also say they use logic and the avoidance of harm to make decisions, but those factors are in concert with religious tradition and scripture.

Nones tend to be young, white and male

Demographically, Nones also stand out from the religiously affiliated.

Nones are young. 69% are under the age of fifty.

They're also less racially diverse. 63% of Nones are white.

Similar studies by Pew and other groups such as the Public Religion Research Institute have found that people of color are far more likely to say religion is important in their lives.

But Smith says to keep in mind that the Nones are comprised of three distinct groups - atheists, agnostics and those who describe themselves as 'nothing in particular.'



America's Christian majority is on track to end

Nones who describe themselves are atheist or agnostic are far more likely to be white.

"People who describe their religion as 'nothing in particular' are more likely," says Smith, "to be Black or Hispanic or Asian."

At first glance, Nones appear to be evenly divided be gender. But digging deeper into the data shows that men are significantly more likely to say they're atheist or agnostic whereas women are more likely to describe their religion as 'nothing in particular.'

Smith says that's consistent with other research as well, which shows, "women tend to be more religious on average than men."

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jrDiscussion - desc
Professor Guide
1  seeder  evilone    one month ago

A snapshot of present day sociology. What this signals for the future no one can say with any accuracy, but it does point to some interesting trends. 

Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  evilone @1    one month ago

I do believe this has been happening in Europe for quite some time and longer than here.

Professor Guide
1.1.1  seeder  evilone  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.1    one month ago

It's a really slow process in Europe. Nones there only account for about 17% of the population while Catholics make up over 40%.

Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  evilone @1.1.1    one month ago

I didnt think Catholics were still that high but considering Poland, Italy, and France are very Catholic countries.

I think, tho, that they may identify as Catholics but are more secular

Professor Quiet
1.1.3  mocowgirl  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.1    one month ago
I do believe this has been happening in Europe for quite some time and longer than here.

I googled for a list of countries where Christianity is a minority religion.  England and Wales have dropped to where less than half of the population identifies as Christian.  I suspect that the numbers are still inflated due to a survey where people said they were Christian because they believed it made them "good" people, but they really did not believe in the Christian religion.

Of course, the Christian religious hierarchy in England is fighting back to retain their authority to rule the lives of the masses so we will see how they fight to enact laws that support their "free speech" and suppress the free speech of non-Christians through possibly blasphemy laws or forcing Christianity on criminals in/out of prison or even the homeless have to endure a sermon to be fed by a "Christian" organization similar to what is happening in the United States since Bush funneled untold hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollar to churches with no oversight via executive action in 2004.  Without this money, there would be vastly fewer churches in the US today because there are vastly fewer people attending churches so the churches have little support outside of our federal government.  The ACLU gave token resistance to the executive order and the news media does not cover how many hundreds of millions of dollars are given to churches or what it is used for in the US.

Fairly recent article about the numbers in England and Wales. (2021 survey)

England and Wales now minority Christian countries, census reveals | Census | The Guardian

It is the first time in a census of England and Wales that fewer than half of the population have described themselves as Christian.

Meanwhile, 37.2% of people – 22.2 million – declared they had “no religion”, the second most common response after Christian. It means that over the past 20 years the proportion of people reporting no religion has soared from 14.8% – a rise of more than 22 percentage points.

The archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said the census result “throws down a challenge to us not only to trust that God will build his kingdom on Earth but also to play our part in making Christ known”.

Analysis by the Guardian shows areas with a higher proportion of people from ethnic minorities are also more religious. And places with a higher proportion of white people also have a bigger proportion with no religion.

Humanists and secularists seized on the figures as proof of the need for an overhaul of religion’s role in a society that has bishops of the established Church of England voting on laws and compulsory Christian worship in all schools that are not of a designated religious character.

“It’s official – we are no longer a Christian country,” said Stephen Evans, the chief executive of the National Secular Society. “The census figures paint a picture of a population that has dramatically moved away from Christianity – and from religion as a whole. The current status quo, in which the Church of England is deeply embedded in the UK state, is unfair and undemocratic – and looking increasingly absurd and unsustainable.”

Professor Quiet
1.1.4  mocowgirl  replied to  mocowgirl @1.1.3    one month ago
I googled for a list of countries where Christianity is a minority religion.

Some quick info at Wikipedia.  Note:  Over two-thirds of about 8 billion people are NOT Christian .  And even among the Christian sects, they are so divided that other than the Roman Catholic Church, their numbers are very insignificant in comparison to world population.

Christianity by country - Wikipedia

As of the year 2021,  Christianity  had approximately 2.38 billion adherents and is the  largest religion by population  respectively. [2] [3]  According to a  PEW  estimation in 2020, Christians made up to 2.38 billion of the worldwide population of about 8 billion people. [a] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]  It represents nearly one-third of the world's population and is the largest religion in the world, with the  three largest groups of Christians  being the  Catholic Church Protestantism , and the  Eastern Orthodox Church . [10]  The largest  Christian  denomination is the Catholic Church, with 1.3 billion baptized members. [11]  The second largest Christian branch is either Protestantism (if it is considered a single group), or the Eastern Orthodox Church (if Protestants are considered to be divided into multiple denominations).

The   United States   has the largest Christian population in the world, followed by   Brazil ,   Mexico ,   Russia , and the   Philippines . [13]

Christianity in multiple forms is the   state religion   of the following 15 nations:   Argentina   (Catholic Church), [14]   Armenia   ( Armenian Apostolic Church ),   Tuvalu   ( Church of Tuvalu ),   Costa Rica   (Catholic Church), [15]   Kingdom of Denmark   ( Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark ), [16]   England   ( Church of England ), [17]   Greece   ( Church of Greece ),   Georgia   ( Eastern Orthodox Church ), [18] [19]   Iceland   ( Church of Iceland ), [20]   Liechtenstein   (Catholic Church), [21]   Malta   (Catholic Church), [22]   Monaco   (Catholic Church), [23]   Vatican City   (Catholic Church), [24]   and   Zambia . Christianity used to be the state religion of the former   Ethiopian Empire   (adopted in 340 A.D. by the   Kingdom of Aksum ) prior to the government's overthrow. [25]

Professor Quiet
1.1.5  mocowgirl  replied to  mocowgirl @1.1.4    one month ago
Some quick info at Wikipedia. 

And clarification on how the numbers of Christians are calculated.  Seems evident that the numbers are inflated.  

Christianity by country - Wikipedia

By country

Note : Population data are compiled using   statistical science   and are subject to   observational error ; these numbers should therefore be considered   estimates   only. The total number of Christians for each country is based on the number of people who are members of a   Christian denomination   or who identify themselves as Christian, plus their children. The number of people who actually believe in   God   or who regularly attend   church   is not addressed. People who mix Christianity with   tribal religions   are counted as Christians in this article. Most of the numbers for the Christian percentage of the population for each country were taken from the US   State Department 's   International Religious Freedom Report ,   the   CIA World Factbook ,   Joshua Project ,   Open doors ,   Pew Forum , and Adherents.com.
Professor Guide
2  seeder  evilone    one month ago
The political power of white Evangelicals has been well-reported in recent decades, but their numbers are shrinking while the number of the more liberal Nones is on the rise.

hmmmm... take note populist apologists.

Professor Principal
2.1  devangelical  replied to  evilone @2    one month ago

nice to finally see the curtain coming down on the longest running tax scam and money laundering operation in secular america ...

Professor Principal
3  JohnRussell    one month ago

To each their own. 

People being religious doesnt bother me at all, as long as they dont try and force it on other people. 

Professor Principal
3.1  devangelical  replied to  JohnRussell @3    one month ago
as long as they dont try and force it on other people

that disqualifies most of the brainless thumpers that support trump...

Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  JohnRussell @3    one month ago

I agree with you. What I really don't like is "showy" displays of people's faith. There's a meme with Maggie Smith that says Religion is like Penises. It's fine to have one but one shouldn't take it out and show it to the world. (or something like that)

Professor Quiet
3.2.1  mocowgirl  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.2    one month ago
It's fine to have one but one shouldn't take it out

and wave it other people's faces.

I totally agree with Maggie Smith.

Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.2.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  mocowgirl @3.2.1    one month ago

That's how it goes. Thanks

Professor Principal
4  JBB    one month ago


Professor Principal
5  devangelical    one month ago

no wonder the thumpers are growing increasingly militant in imposing their dogma upon the secular masses...

Professor Principal
5.1  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @5    one month ago

believe in our god of love and forgiveness, or else!


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