Very cool little flash widget from USA Today; I'm relatively certain its pulling data from this ARIS report.

And in related news... American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population
Americans Who Don't Identify with a Religion No Longer a Fringe Group

"Nones" now largely mirror Mainstream America

HARTFORD, Conn. - The 34 million American adults who don't identify with any particular religious group reflect the general population in terms of marital status, educational attainment, racial and ethnic makeup, and income, according to a new study by Trinity College researchers, American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population.

Report Highlights (click for full report)

  • The 1990s was the decade when the "secular boom" occurred - each year 1.3 million more adult Americans joined the ranks of the Nones. Since 2001 the annual increase has halved to 660,000 a year. (Fig.3.1)
  • Whereas Nones are presently 15% of the total adult U.S. population, 22% of Americans aged 18-29 years self-identify as Nones. (Fig.1.2)
  • In terms of Belonging (self-identification) 1 in 6 Americans is presently of No Religion, while in terms of Belief and Behavior the ratio is higher around 1 in 4. (Fig. 1.17)
  • Regarding belief in the divine, most Nones are neither atheists nor theists but rather agnostics and deists (59%) and perhaps best described as skeptics. (Fig.1.17)
  • The most significant difference between the religious and non-religious populations is a gender gap. (Fig. 1.17)
    • Whereas 19% of American men are Nones only 12% of American women are Nones. (Fig. 2.1)
    • The gender ratio among Nones is 60 males for every 40 females. (Fig.1.1)
    • Women are less likely to switch out of religion than men.
    • Women are also less likely to stay non-religious when they are born and raised in a non-religious family.
  • Most Nones are 1st generation - only 32% of "current" Nones report they were None at age 12. (Fig.1.10)
  • 24% of current Nones (and 35% of 1st generation or "new" Nones) are former Catholics. (Fig. 1.10)
  • Geography remains a factor - more than 1 in 5 people in certain regions (the West, New England) are Nones.
  • Class is not a distinguishing characteristic: Nones are not different from the generalpopulation by education or income. (Figs 1.6 & 1.7)
  • Race is a declining factor in differentiating Nones. Latinos have tripled their proportion among Nones from 1990-2008 from 4% to 12%. (Fig.1.4)
  • The ethnic/racial profile of Nones shows Asians, Irish and Jews are the most secularized ethnic origin groups. One-third of the Nones claim Irish ancestry. (Figs 1.4 & 1.5)
  • Nones are much more likely to believe in human evolution (61%) than the general American public (38%). (Fig. 1.15)
  • Politically, 21% of the nation's independents are Nones, as are 16% of Democrats and 8% of Republicans. In 1990, 12% of independents were Nones, as were 6% of Democrats and 6% of Republicans. (Fig. 2.1)

Views: 3742

Comment by Reggie on September 29, 2009 at 7:58pm
Comment by Morgan Matthew on September 29, 2009 at 8:13pm
Nice find Johnny!
Comment by James on September 29, 2009 at 10:01pm
Awesome post!

I'm one of 13% in my state. :)
Comment by Gaytor on September 30, 2009 at 12:46am
Did you notice Utah? 57% Mormon, 17 % non-believers. Is that organic or a result of ex-Mormons not leaving the state? In Washington we are the largest group!
Comment by Morgan Matthew on September 30, 2009 at 2:22am
This is from FOX news:

Where Have All the Christians Gone?

Christianity is plummeting in America, while the number of non-believers is skyrocketing.

A shocking new study of Americans’ religious beliefs shows the beginnings of a major realignment in Americans’ relationship with God. The American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) reveals that Protestants now represent half of all Americans, down almost 20 percent in the last twenty years. In the coming months, America will become a minority Protestant nation for the first time since the pilgrims.

The number of people who claim no religious affiliation, meanwhile, has doubled since 1990 to fifteen percent, its highest point in history. Non-believers now represent the third-highest group of Americans, after Catholics and Baptists.

Other headlines:

1) The number of Christians has declined 12% since 1990, and is now 76%, the lowest percentage in American history.

2) The growth of non-believers has come largely from men. Twenty percent of men express no religious affiliation; 12% of women.

3) Young people are fleeing faith. Nearly a quarter of Americans in their 20’s profess no organized religion.

4) But these non-believers are not particularly atheist. That number hasn’t budged and stands at less than 1 percent. (Agnostics are similarly less than 1 percent.) Instead, these individuals have a belief in God but no interest in organized religion, or they believe in a personal God but not in a formal faith tradition.

The implications for American society are profound. Americans’ relationship with God, which drove many of the country’s great transformations from the pilgrims to the founding fathers, the Civil War to the civil rights movement, is still intact. Eighty-two percent of Americans believe in God or a higher power.

But at the same time, the study offers yet another wake-up call for religious institutions.

First, catering to older believers is a recipe for failure; younger Americans are tuning out.

Second, Americans are interested in God, but they don’t think existing institutions are helping them draw closer to God.

Finally, Americans’ interest in religion has not always been stable. It dipped following the Revolution and again following Civil War. In both cases it rebounded because religious institutions adapted and found new ways of relating to everyday Americans.

Today, the rise of disaffection is so powerful that different denominations needs to band together to find a shared language of God that can move beyond the fading divisions of the past and begin moving toward a partnership of different-but-equal traditions.

Or risk becoming Europe, where religion is fast becoming an afterthought.

Bruce Feiler is bestselling author of eight books, including "Walking the Bible" and "Abraham," and the host of the PBS series on "Walking the Bible." A frequent commentator on National Public Radio, CNN and FOX News. His latest book "America's Prophet: Moses and the American Story" will be published in October.
Comment by Johnny on September 30, 2009 at 9:14am
@Gaytor: In Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming, nones are also the biggest group.
Comment by Johnny on September 30, 2009 at 9:48am
4) But these non-believers are not particularly atheist. That number hasn’t budged and stands at less than 1 percent. (Agnostics are similarly less than 1 percent.) Instead, these individuals have a belief in God but no interest in organized religion, or they believe in a personal God but not in a formal faith tradition.
Fox apparently didn't read the whole report. It notes that the majority of 'nones' still consider themselves believers, but don't associate with any church or particular denomination (this actually hints at things in the article Morgan posted). Page 17 of the report shows responses "regarding the existence of God."
  • 2% Atheist
  • 4% Hard Agnostic
  • 6% Soft Agnostic
  • 12% Deist
  • 70% Theist
  • 6% Don't Know or Declined to Answer
My initial reaction is 'what?!' I could have sworn there were more atheists. Some of the earlier Gallup polls we've seen put atheist percentages higher, but didn't breakdown the 'nones' quite as much. A difference to note, ARIS sampled 54,461 people, Gallup's recent religious information has come from a sampling of 178,543.
Comment by Johnny on September 30, 2009 at 11:31am
Comment by Anti-Mike on September 30, 2009 at 3:17pm
Wow, Baptists are only at 39% in my state? They must all live in my town.


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