Poll: Secular Americans On The Rise With Sharp Increase In Those Without Religion Affiliation

170px-rembrandt_harmensz-_van_rijn_079-1There is an interesting new Pew poll that shows that the number of Americans without affiliation to any religion is continuing to rise — as is the number of Americans who now classify themselves as atheists or agnostics. The numbers of “nones” has grown to 56 million in recent years, making it the second largest number behind evangelicals. From 2007 to 2014, Americans describing themselves as as atheist, agnostic or of no particular faith grew from 16 percent to nearly 23 percent. This is roughly one out of four Americans. Pew found a rising tide of secularism in the United States. It is an interesting poll since religious groups tend to have far greater political power in the country as shown by various “faith-based” policies.

I have written previously (here) on how both Republicans and Democrats, including President Obama (here), have embraced faith-based politics. Yet, in addition to strong support for separation of church and state, many Americans disclaim any faith-based affiliation.

Notably, the largest group of faith followers (Christians) has shown the greatest decline in numbers. In the latest poll, Christians dropped from about 78 percent to just under 71 percent of the population. Protestants now comprise 46.5 percent the country.

Last year, 31 percent of the “nones” said they were atheist or agnostic as compared to 25 percent in 2007. In addition, the percentage who said religion was important to them has dropped.

The question is how the parties, and particularly the Republican party, will respond to this trend. Notably, people with no religion tend to vote Democratic, while white evangelicals tend to vote Republican. The greatest drops among Christians were seen among more liberal Protestants and Roman Catholics.

Mainline Protestants declined by about 5 million to 36 million between 2007 and 2014. The study put the number of Catholic adults at 51 million, or just over one-fifth of the U.S. population, a drop of about 3 percent over seven years.

While there was an increase in Muslims and Hindus, both groups comprise less than 1 percent of the U.S. population. The number of Jews rose slightly over the period, from 1.7 percent to 1.9 percent of Americans.

It is fascinating to see these demographic shifts as well as the relative political power that is held by various groups in our political system.

With one out of four Americans in the “none” category, it will be interesting to see if the rising secular values in our country will translate to changes in either party — or whether the determinative factor will continue to be the concentrated voting blocks or influence of particular faith-based groups.

Source: PEW Study

310 thoughts on “Poll: Secular Americans On The Rise With Sharp Increase In Those Without Religion Affiliation”

  1. sorry dave…it does mean Rome.. St. Peter never preached from Assyria, nor the biblical Babylon of the old testament…and yes, he did preach from Rome, and it was referred to as Babylon…which was code for ROME at the time…history and scripture bear this out without equivocation…sorry senor…dave, have you scoped out those paisley vids on you tube?…LOL!

  2. Schultz, …not henry, nor wesley, nor zwingli, nor huss, nor e.g.white, nor joseph smith, or you or I, have the permission or right, to start a Church…it was already started…in Jerusalem, 2000 years ago…it’s seat is in Rome, which is the seat of Christendom…all peoples on earth are to become it’s members…the confessor for Mary Queen of Scots said..”.madam, in this world we have two peoples…Catholic and heretic…nothing more”…it is still the same

    1. Stanton – I am an egalitarian. If I want to start I church, I damn well think I have the right.

  3. I would rather lose my head, than spend an eternity in Hell, for the sake of Wales…

    1. stanton – Henry thought his soul was at risk of eternal damnation.

  4. dave your ramble does not even warrant a response…it’s utter mumbo-jumbo…really…you disapprove of the Churches stance on the use of condoms?…wow that makes sense that the Church would advocate fornicating, just so long as you don’t spread VD, and wipe out the possibility of pro-creation…utterly bizarre dave…the Church is like a basket of wheat and chaff…good members and bad…the Church is always good…it’s teaching on matters of faith and morals always right…sadly bad members do exist in the Church, yet even the bad members can be redeemed dave, we are all sinners…my only take dave is you don’t like the Catholic Church and probably don’t go to Church…and I bet you fornicate with your girlfriend, which is gravely sinful…sound about right dave?

  5. schulte if you taught world history than you know better than I that Henry started a Church, for political gain…nothing more…his motives were greed and lust…he sacked churches and stole money and dowries from monasteries, to finance his efforts abroad and to build a war chest to fight France and Spain if necessary…the scum called henry was given a dispensation from the Pope to marry his brothers wife, who never consummated the union…his lawful wife was Catherine, was the pope to dispense now, with his original dispensation?…his lust was out of control…the adulterous union he had with anne boleyn created Englands most beloved monarch, the heretic Elizabeth…he used the dispensation as an excuse to gain Ann, nothing more, and he contrived any excuse to have her…yahtzee schulte!

    1. stanton – you have to follow the bouncing ball. I think, after reading the testimony of the trial, that Henry truly felt the Pope should be on his side. However, politics were involved. Once he started a church no sense no reaping the benefits. Henry was very bright. So, church property became crown property. However, when Mary became Queen it all went back. Then Elizabeth became Queen and it all went back again. I am sure if you were English during this period all you were doing was trying to keep your head on your shoulders.

  6. Stanton,
    While I am fairly confident that you will probably do so, I can assure you I am not anti-Catholic (as my Catholic ex-wife and current Catholic GF would probably attest to as well).
    However, the Catholic Church, (as does any institution or religion created by and run by people – particularly large bodies of people) bears little resemblance to the church led by Peter in the catacombs of Rome. It has been shaped by men, and often by politics and the politics of power as the church rose in prominence.
    All large religions that have been here for a while suffer from the same thing however – whether Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Muslim, et al. they have doctrine, and that doctrine has been shaped, altered, and warped by the men (largely it is just men) in the positions of power at the tops of these religions over time. That the doctrine has as much to do with the beliefs & biases of those men, the power struggles of those men, and the politics of the time as it does with any of the true teachings of Christ.
    To say that the Catholic Church or ANY of these others offers the only path to salvation through Christ and is the “only” true church seems to contradict what I read in the Bible (even the Bible which we use and accept today as created by the Catholic Church).
    I am glad you are a happy Catholic and a defender of your faith. I too have problems with Fundamentalists who attack the Catholic Church, or for that matter, any other religion.
    I recognize both the great good and the terrible harm that has been done by the Catholic Church also; much of it under the guise of evangelical work, which was also a way of expanding its pervasive political power and influence, and generating vast amounts of income as well.
    Today the church continues to be a staunch supporter of the rights of the disadvantaged in many countries, and yet I still take issue with it’s stance on condoms and other forms of birth control (not abortion) as this could eliminate many health problems in these same poor populations.
    I must say that the new pope is refreshing, though I understand he is an anathema to hard line Catholics. To those of us who are called to follow the teachings of Christ and not man’s doctrine – he is refreshing.
    The Catholic Church as it exists today may be able to trace its lineage back to Peter, but that does not mean that Peter taught what is taught in the Catholic Church today or anything that resembles it. The Catholic Church today is as much a creation of man as any of the others that you cite.

  7. the churches of Antioch and Ephesus indicate where the Church was located geographically…not spiritually or theologically as dave would contend…they were Catholic in belief and in origin…these Churches are still attended dave…by Catholics…as these are Catholic Churches…no Church of Antioch exists as dave would contend…

  8. dave all those Churches agreed with one another and appealed to Rome. The Churches of Alexandria and Antioch were not at variance on the teaching of the church on matters of faith and morals, ie concerning matters of baptism, salvation, or the sacraments…they were ALL under Rome and the Vicar of Rome…these were all Catholic as no other Church existed…protestantism nor eastern orthodoxy existed, or would exist for many centuries…only Catholicism existed and of course judaism…where is the Church of Ephesus or Antioch today dave?…I rest my case…

  9. schulte…your knowledge of church history is as erroneous as daves…anglicanism is a joke…it’s founder was a debauched, obese, vd carrying heretic and butcher…hope the brits are proud of this man and the “faux” church he spawned…

    1. stanton – there is no proof that Henry VIII had VD. I have read the entire trial of Henry VIII and his first wife (which is fascinating by the way) and I know exactly how the Anglican Church got started. I also know how it got changed as it went along. I have taught both World History and World Religions and have covered this topic in both classes. Your take on Henry VIII is warped.

  10. Stanton, I WAS a Lutheran, Wisconsin Synod. I grew up in a fundamentalist church, the Assemblies of God, Sarah Palin’s church. I am an agnostic, after much would searching, now in my later years. I am not even a good agnostic, sometimes I even pray.

    1. I. Annie wrote: “I am not even a good agnostic, sometimes I even pray.”

      Wow! That gives me hope for you. Thanks for sharing that. It sounds like God has never left you even though your faith has been sorely tested.

  11. have a good day guys…going to “amoeba record’s” in hollywood today, to buy some licorice pizza, if you get my drift…going to El Cholo for lunch on western…the rolled tacos are to die for!…and the margaritas ain’t to shabby either.

  12. Henry was a syphilitic, debauched, morbidly obese degenerate, who was a “bounder” of the highest water!…when he couldn’t manipulate the Pope, he left the Church for lust…lust and avarice were his sole motives for leaving the Church…he didn’t even have a moral reason for leaving…

  13. sorry annie, I forgot you are a lutheran…my bad…what synod are you in wisconsin or missouri?

  14. Apostolic Succession is built on a bedrock of TRUTH!, more firm than any element on earth…the Papacy has an unbroken chain, dating back to St. Peter the “ROCK”, all the way to our present Pope Francis the Ist…Get with the program dave! Check out this fact on Wikkipedia, they aren’t even a Catholic source…

    1. The Great Stanton – his reason, which I think was very reasoned by the time he got to it, was that he had married his brother’s wife, which he had gotten Papal permission to do. He wanted to have that annulled and the marriage annulled so he could marry someone who would give him a male heir.

      You have no background in English history do you?

    2. The Great Stanton wrote: “Apostolic Succession is built on a bedrock of TRUTH!, more firm than any element on earth…the Papacy has an unbroken chain, dating back to St. Peter the “ROCK”, all the way to our present Pope Francis the Ist…Get with the program dave! Check out this fact on Wikkipedia, they aren’t even a Catholic source…”

      You are not reporting accurately. Wikipedia says, “Papal primacy is is different though related to apostolic succession.” Their subject on “Apostolic Succession” covers not just what Roman Catholics think, but also what apostolic succession means to Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, and the Moravian Church. Your theological opinion about apostolic succession and the primacy of Peter and the Pope has not been substantiated as fact in Wikipedia.

  15. Stanton, I think you sound like an anti Protestant bigot, do you not see that? But I’m sure that’s your strong faith speaking.

  16. wrxdave, you’re probably are better versed in the Constitution than I. Thanks for your take on it. So if I were that Catholic Church, I’d have a restraining order and a lawsuit. Hard to keep fundamentalist nuts from coming into your church with automatic weapons and shooting up the congregation with only a restraining order and lawsuits though.

  17. Stanton,
    I’ve asked you direct questions for which you have yet to answer. Should I infer no answer means you do not have one?

  18. save your breath annie…dave is an anti-catholic bigot…no more, no less…dave you should plug into some of ian paisleys footage on you tube, his anti-catholic harangues will be right up your alley senor…LOL!

  19. on a final note…if St. Peter were not in Rome dave, as you believe…where was he?…historically maybe you can find it out, and enlighten us all… when your head stops spinning, you will find, without equivocation, he was in Rome, and was in fact martyred there…the Catholic Church is like a roaring lion, once let out of it’s cage it can very able defend itself…

    1. The Great Stanton wrote: “if St. Peter were not in Rome dave, as you believe…where was he?”

      Historically, it appears that Peter first worked in Jerusalem and the environs of modern day Israel and Palestine. Then he went up to what is modern day Turkey (Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia). From there he went to Babylon, in modern day Iraq (Assyria). Some historians then mention that he went to Britain after that, while Paul was in Rome. Later Peter went to Rome where he was quickly martyred. You might notice in Acts 28, when Paul was in Rome, the Jews came to him saying that they had never heard the things he was teaching. That indicates that Paul was the first to preach and teach in Rome. Also, in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he mentions many but does not mention Peter. How could Peter have been Pope there leading all the Christians, and Paul does not acknowledge him?

  20. David,
    The videos were not necessarily examples of molestation, more so examples of the obnoxious behavior by fundamentalists. Being INSIDE someone else’s house of worship crosses the line. Live and let live, worship or not and let others worship or not. Someone mentioned the Golden Rule upstream.

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