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. Annie

    1, May 16, 2015 at 10:55 am

    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.

    Trying to tar everyone religious with something that has occurred a handful of times in living memory shows you’re lacking perspective.

  2. Oh yesGigi, let’s not forget the hissy fit Republicans had when the Torture Report was released. Advocating torture and setting up a torture program as Bush’s Administration did is the height of authoritarianism. You want less government when it comes to social programs but huge government when it comes to war, women’s bodies and torture. Can’t see the hypocrisy? Maybe that because you are seeing things through blinders that only point right.

  3. Gigi, funny that’s pretty much how I see you. When a government wants to tell women what they can do with their OWN bodies IT IS authoritarian, as well as all the other points I listed, duh. Your view of authoritarian is skewed extremely far right. I think the extreme right wing is dangerous to this country.

    1. Annie wrote: “When a government wants to tell women what they can do with their OWN bodies IT IS authoritarian…”

      This is another example of liberal newspeak.

      In the issue of abortion, Republicans don’t want to control what women do with their OWN bodies. They care about what she wants to do to the body of her unborn child. They care about whether she wants to kill her unborn child. Don’t you understand the difference between your body and the body of your child? I guess you think laws against murder are authoritarian, and surely they are, but that is the role of government. Even then, most Republicans do NOT want the federal government making all abortion illegal. They want the freedom of the State’s and people to craft the laws that regulate it. Originally the States had this right under the Constitution, but through the sophistry of some federal Justices, the Fourteenth Amendment was reinterpreted to take away that freedom and right from the people. The situation is similar with Health Care. The objection is not to health care per se, but rather to the federalization of it. That is why many Republicans supported Mitt Romney’s health care in Massachusetts but not Obama’s federalization of it.

  4. Annie, 1. when a party wants to have less government, they are not authoritarian–dah.
    2. Conservatives defend ALL life for ALL people, conception to death–that’s my Judeo-Christian belief. I know what will happen if we lower our standards. I see it happening now.
    3. Give me an example when a Republican held anyone back from voting. As I recall it was the Black Panther’s who intimidated people, with their militant presence and stature, from entering the polls to vote. 4. Republicans know we need to entice corporations to come back to the US and others to remain in this nation for jobs. We are suffering economically. It’s not welfare, it’s reducing taxes. It’s not favoritism, it’s using common sense. I’d rather give corporations a little less regulations and tax breaks if they will hire hundreds of people in this country and spread the wealth for working Americans.
    5. Not all Republican’s want to deport the immigrants who are here now–some do, but you and I know that it won’t happen. However, we can’t continue to let people cross our borders illegally. We still have a set of rules that everyone has to abide by, so the best solution at this point in time is to make illegals go to through stringent vetted levels of compliance to live on work visa’s in this country. Then they will have the opportunity to work towards citizenship. If they truly want to be USA American’s they will comply, while others will hide until they’re found and deported. Meanwhile, we don’t owe them all the free goodies that our own citizens have a hard time getting.
    6. No one and NO PARTY is for militarization of our police forces. What TV stations and websites are you going on?? We cannot allow our police forces and fire departments to be put in jeopardizing situations and told not to defend themselves. We are creating a violent society when we do.
    7. I answered the gay marriage rights several times already. It’s not a marriage–if they want to call it something else, go ahead, but it’s not a marriage. Too many people who don’t value marriage between man and woman for life as a sacrament, will never understand this, because they too have taken and used marriage as an object to satisfy a brief moment in life, not as a lifetime commitment.
    8. Both Democrats and Republicans have incarcerated millions of blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics, etc. for ILLEGAL DRUGS. There’s that word ILLEGAL again. When you have people (of all races) stealing, pushing drugs, shooting, in gangs, disrupting the living conditions and endangering the safety of society, they have to be put in jail.
    9. Some Republican’s and some Democrats, as well, opposed gays in the military. When my husband was in the military in the 50’s, he said there were gays on his submarine–you can’t get much closer than that. They didn’t have a problem though, because they all knew their place and no harassment took place–there was mutual respect. One can be gay or straight, but should we all go around flaunting it and shouting it from the rooftops.
    10. Do you honestly think that it’s just the Republican’s funding wars? In 2001-03, a number of people from both sides of the aisle, defended Bush and wanted retaliation for the nearly 3,000 people killed on 911. That was the first foreign war on our mainland soil since the Revolution. We stood back and stood still for too long, trying to negotiate with the Middle-East. Al Qaeda wasn’t a new name, it had been taunting the US since the 80’s. Several bombings and killing of American’s had taken place during all those years. Bill Clinton had a chance to get rid of Bin Laden and hesitated for too long. Hillary Clinton supported and voted to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. As long as the USA is a powerful nation with the best military, we will be pulled into wars. Knowing what we know now, I don’t think Bush would have gone to war, but he followed the information from the CIA and FBI, which proved to be faulty info.
    11. Why am I focused on you? Because you come up with some of the most unusual remarks and totally against anything conservative or religious. You are so far bent left and never listen or consider the other side of the viewpoint. You line of thinking is so skewed that I find it dangerous for the future of our country.

  5. Gigi, why do you support the authoritarian Republican Party? Why don’t they leave women and their bodies alone? Why do they try to make voting harder for minorities? Why do they favor corporate welfare over helping the least of us? Why do they want to deport millions of immigrants who have come here seeking a better life? Why do they favor the war on drugs that has incarcerated millions of black Americans? Why do they favor the militarization of our police forces? Why do they want to deny gay Americans the same marriage rights heterosexual people have? Why did they oppose gays in the military? Why do they favor unfunded, unnessessary wars? They sound far more authoritarian, so WHY do you support them if you don’t like authoritarian governments? Gigi, it’s odd that you are so focused on me as of late.

    And “Gigi” you don’t sound like yourself, you actually sound very much like someone else…..

  6. Annie, you’ve made enough comments on this blog to figure out your stance on issues. If you’re not for authoritarian government then why do you support the party that is in favor of more government taxes, more gov. handouts, more gov. control, more gov. regulations, more gov. controlled everything. Either your blind to your beliefs or in denial of admitting to them.

  7. I am the where all faith is placed by my minions. Give me your money, your vote, and I will take care of you on earth. We enlightened ones know there is no afterlife, only this earth.

  8. Gigi, interesting that you think you know who I put faith in. So many people make assumptions. And I most certainly do not want or approve of an authoritarian government. Again, unless you got a “Word of knowledge” from the Almighty himself, don’t presume to know where my “faith” is placed.

  9. The good Lord willing, perhaps He will inform His lambs the difference between chaffs and shafts and the difference between plurals which require no apostrophe and possessives.

  10. It seems Annie is willing to demolish the authoritarianism of Religion in favor of authoritarianism of government. Interesting. She puts all her faith in human’s and not is a Supreme Deity.
    I on the other hand put my faith and hope in the Trinity of God over government. To each his own.

    As time passes, we are seeing how our morals, values, ethics, and virtues are being thrown aside for self-indulgence and reliance on government to take care of all our woes and wants. It doesn’t work, never did work, and never will work. When people begin to suffer more, many will turn to God and others will be crushed under the strain of life.

    In the Bible we read that the shafts will be separated from the wheat. We also hear that the goats will be separated from the lambs of God.

  11. I don’t think she’ll beat the 17 sockpuppet record, but she’s working on it.

  12. Not at all Stanton. I’m not the one self-appointed “Great”. Develop some humility and then you may find some objectivity.

  13. oily is mad…remember senor…don’t give into pride…hubris is one of those seven deadlies

  14. David,
    Stanton is obviously unable to think independently. For all his blather, he is a terrible ambassador for Christianity.

  15. dave should check out his favorite source wikipedia…it has listed under Popes as Pope St. Peter as the first pope with Pope Linus second followed by Anacletus…I already knew this, thought he should as well…dave…your knowledge of the papacy is pretty bad…also, the Catholic Church abdicated it’s episcopate in Antioch in 1964…thought dave would like to know…you call yourself a theist…did you become disillusioned with the Mormons dave?

  16. “i want to save my soul and teach others about Christ’s true Church…”

    You are obsessed with worshipping the Church rather than Jesus Christ. I’ll pray you find the path to worship God and not idol worship the Church.

  17. dave you are not interested either…you just want to win a debate…i want to save my soul and teach others about Christ’s true Church…you seem to have little interest in either, so let’s just part ways senor

    1. Stanton – how do you know it is Christ’s true church? At best you have a conference 300 years after his death using Gospels which may or may not be accurate but are written many years after his death.

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