Growing Number of Americans Have No Religion: What's Your Take?

According to a new Pew survey, one in five Americans do not associate with a religious organization


According to a Pew survey released on Tuesday, the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans – sometimes called the “nones” – is growing.  

The study found that 20 percent of Americans are not affiliated with any religion, which is a five percent increase from just five years ago. Nearly six percent of the U.S. public, or 13 million people, are self-described atheists or agnostics, according to the new survey.

Pew claims the rise of the “nones” is largely driven by generational replacement.  Thirty-three percent respondents under the age of 30 said they do not associate with a particular religion, compared to only 9 percent of respondents over the age of 65.    

The religious dissociation trend appears to be unique to caucasian Americans. Pew found the share of blacks and Hispanics who are religiously unaffiliated has not changed by a statistically significant margin in recent years.

Most of the unaffiliated say religious organizations are too concerned with money, power, politics and rules.

The religiously unaffiliated are liberal in their political ideology; six in ten described themselves as Democrats, compared with 48 percent of all registered voters.

Surprisingly, Pew found that 68 percent of this growing group say they believe in God, 37 percent describe themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious” and 21 percent said that they even pray every day.

What's your take?  Why do you think the younger generation is disassociating from religion?  Do you think this trend will have an impact on communities?  Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Jack Mullen October 15, 2012 at 04:35 PM
It is a reflection of people who do not want to follow any specific set of rules. These people was to make the rules up for themselves. The Catholic Faith has very strict rules that make life less enjoyable for a reason, but young people cannot see the big picture and make money and power the reason they can jettison organized religion for one they create for themselves that allows them to do what they want.
Vineyard Worker October 15, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Following what Jesus taught does not mean that anyone needs to have a less enjoyable life. Following Jesus allows one to attain heaven on earth. One's heart is set on Mind not matter (earthly pleasures). Your comment suggests that one that follows Gods Word without Blindly following the Vatican hierarchy acts out of selfishness and I disagree. I follow Jesus/Gods Word and that means constant work/effort in order to put others first. It is not about being selfish or lazy or about not wanting to follow rules. it is about the action. Give nondenominationalists some credit.
Howard Kosrofian October 15, 2012 at 11:24 PM
LIBERLISIM is a MENTAL disorder............ Michael Savage
Vineyard Worker October 16, 2012 at 01:48 PM
If one chooses to follow Gods Word, attend church where the Bible is recited and preached, praise God with prayer and song, stress serving others before oneself, such actions are considered liberalism and a mental disorder? Why the attack? Your personal opinion, without the negativity, would be welcomed and respected.
Vineyard Worker October 16, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Olga, you report that 68% of those polled, believe in God. Therefore, 68% of those polled are religious. You are misleading your readers by inferring that nondenomination means nonreligious, or without God.
abb3w October 17, 2012 at 07:49 PM
While this is a pleasant notion for Christians, it has empirical problems. The current shifts appear to merely continue previous trends; thus, the results from the Altemeyer and Hunsberger study "Amazing Conversions: why some turn to faith & others abandon religion" from 1997 seem likely to continue reflecting current conditions. The main reason they found for disaffiliation from religious upbringing was they didn't accept the religious claims as true.
abb3w October 17, 2012 at 08:03 PM
You are "inferring"; Olga is at best "implying". Even there, Olga appears to have been fairly careful to call them "unaffiliated" rather than "nonreligious". Similarly, "nondemoninational" would seem another category still, which would additionally include Christians who do not identify as any type of Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox. Perhaps you might remove that beam from your own eye before complaining about further motes? On the other hand, the Pew report indicates the fraction who self-identify as atheist or agnostic has also been increasing, both overall and specifically within the unaffiliated. While the exact level of the "irreligious" may depend on what threshold you use to define it, it appears to be growing regardless of threshold for measurement.


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