Growing Unbelief? 1 in 5 Americans Are Now Atheists, Agnostics or ‘Nones’
While the majority of the population still embraces the concept of a “God,” according to a new report, the proportion of Americans abandoning the notion that a higher power exists is expanding. Now, nearly one in five (19 percent) Americans report that they are a part of the “nones” — the growing group of religiously unaffiliated individuals.
Who are these “nones,” you ask? According to the USA Today, they are people who call themselves atheists, agnostics or those who simply embrace “nothing in particular.” According to Barry Kosmin, co-author of three American Religious Identification Surveys, the “nones” may be growing for a variety of reasons.
“Young people are resistant to the authority of institutional religion, older people are turned off by the politicization of religion, and people are simply less into theology than ever before,” he explains.
While some may deny that one or more of these reasons are at the center of the growing trend of non-belief, others will certainly agree that this is an issue worthy of further examination. Looking at the numbers, regardless of where one stands, is stunning. USA Today goes on to explain how this proportion has grown over the years:
Kosmin’s surveys were the first to brand the Nones in 1990 when they were 6% of U.S. adults. By 2008 survey, Nones were up to 15%. By 2010, another survey, the bi-annual General Social Survey, bumped the number to 18%.
Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church, the nation’s largest religious denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, Methodists and Lutherans, all show membership flat or inching downward, according to the 2012 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.
The 19% count is based on aggregated surveys of 19,377 people conducted by the Pew Research Center throughout 2011.