New Report: ‘A Third of Adults Under 30 Have No Religious Affiliation’


This is similar to several articles just posted and has dome good demographic data in the “continue to source” link.

According to a report released today (PDF) by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life (in conjunction with PBS’ Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly), the Nones are on the rise — again. More people are atheist, agnostic, or unaffiliated with religion than ever before. (In fact, 46,000,000 Americans are religiously unaffiliated, by Pew’s count.)

Here’s what the headline should be, though:

A third of adults under 30 have no religious affiliation (32%), compared with just one-in-ten who are 65 and older (9%). And young adults today are much more likely to be unaffiliated than previous generations were at a similar stage in their lives.

Written By: Hemant Mehta
continue to source article at


  1. People are slowly but surely starting to wake up and think for themselves. Great news!

  2. And I thought this would all be over ten years ago. I remember telling my stepfather that we would be sending people like him (religious) for mental evaluation and correction by 2000. Boy, was I an ass when I was young. Wonder why he left?

  3. It is indeed a slow and ponderous death spiral being performed with typical bad grace, or even awareness, by the religiously deluded.
    It is slow, it is gradual, but it IS!

    Seems that a tipping point has been passed and now it is religious death throes and the longevity of the elderly that prop it up.
    A generation , maybe two, and religion will be an oddity, maybe even a cause for giggles and mockery without the R word being rammed down throats at every opportunity.

    As a mark of my profound Respect I will willingly stamp on grasping fingers & hands as they hysterically try and grasp a perch while they inexorable slip backwards into the bubbling broiling tar pit of inane, if not utterly insane, beliefs.

    Ask Charlie Fuqua, Republican candidate for the Arkansas Legislature, he can tell you all about it, the dude wants the right to stone “rebellious children.”

    For sure…seems the projected prognosis of a dying fairy worship was just in time, the deluded are turning extremely rabid in their fear of reality…they aim to inflict as much misery and terror as possible before they go!

    I do not mind if this gets redacted by the moderators…


  4. My only question is, (and I’m not the first to point this out,) is what happens when (or if) most moderates become unaffiliated, and the only religious types are hardcore fundamentalists? It’ll be just us and the really dogmatic people who block soldiers’ funerals and abortion clinics, and the ones who murder their daughters for getting raped, and all that happy smiley sunshiney idealism? If these trends continue, we should really be thinking about that possibility.
    Don’t get me wrong, tho. This is great news.

  5. what happens when… the only religious types are hardcore fundamentalists? 

    Well then we have a ‘paartaay!!!…if you get the drift! 🙂

  6. You see, the devil walks among us and he’s whispering in the ears of our innocent youth, telling them to turn away from our Lord and Saviour! Oh my! We must do whatever we must to save these poor young people and make sure they accept Jesus Christ into their hearts!

    I’m just guessing that that’s how the fundaMENTALists will react to this news. 😐

  7. This is 5% in 5 years. The curve is accelerating.  I would expect another 6% in the next 5 years and another 7% in the next five. If that pattern holds, by 2022 we would be at about 33%. That is a political force that cannot be dismissed.  You get the low-hanging fruit first.  You never get the die-hard bigots.

    This is astoundingly fast change.  I suspect there is nothing else like it in history.

    I recall a similar explosive growth of acceptance of gay equality.  When no one talks, and no one expresses an alternate to the religious view, it prevails.  All it takes is for people to HEAR a more rational view. They think. They change. Then more people change, the more people there are espousing a rational view, which accelerates the process.

    The more debate there is, the more the religious bigots make themselves ridiculous. They can only prevail by keeping certain topics taboo. The Internet is what is going to kill fundamentalism.  You can’t isolate children so they only associate with believers any more.

    This is primarily a generation change. Young people pick up their attitudes from peers. As the old bigots and fundamentalists die off, they are replaced by young atheists. Religion is very much powered by conformity. The conformity tips more and more favour of atheism over time. A society can only move so fast. As my dad used to say “Don’t worry about where you are. Focus on the first derivative.”

    The wishy washy Episcopalians/Anglicans are dying out. Yet they are not particularly dangerous. The shift seems to be to the crazier, more extreme sects. It is the certainty that causes all the trouble. Canada’s prime minister Steven Harper belongs to one of the more insane sects the Alliance Church. Its teachings have caused him to ignore advice from scientists on global warming, preservation of food fish, endangered species, oil spills, search and rescue…

    I don’t see how this is connected, but he also lied to the people about the cost of a very very expensive purchase of fighter jets supposedly to patrol the Arctic that are not suitable for cold weather or long flights. Even though he has training only in economics, he seems to think his gut feeling (divine guidance?) is infallible and is running the government single handedly, much the way a dictator would.

  8. I can do this in my Australian accent: “Are the old people – cramming for the final exam?”

    I’ll be interested to see what happens when the current under 30’s turn 65…

  9. There was a collapse in belief in Quebec in the 60s that had a similar curve to this-if not even faster, though that was almost exclusively moving away from catholicism

  10. I could not believe my ears when I heard the religion stats years ago because I had always thought of Québec as run by the Catholic church.  Birth control was way up. I have never researched why that happened. Today Québec is one of the most liberal parts of Canada. It might be wise to dig into it, hoping to repeat it in the USA.

  11. I did a little digging around to find out why the Catholic church collapsed in Quebec. It seems it was the Quiet Revolution. The provincial government took control of health and education away from the church.  Without those tools of indoctrination, it all collapsed.  No wonder Fundamentalists are so keen on control of schools in the USA.

  12. Not having a religion but still being “spiritual” is one hell of a lot better than being part of an organised religion. However individually speaking this is still not a good world view as it can forment all sorts of nonsense about one’s personal life.
    Nonetheless it should not be too much of a leap from there to the atheist point of view especially of one’s contemporaries have already arrived at the atheist conclusion. And what a worthwhile jump to make!

  13. Quite astounding about the Canadian prime minister. Is he the one who has been drawn with the little “willy”. I saw this picture in comparison with our SA president who was drawn with a big “spear”. What an enormous fuss that made here. All the real problems were forgotten for at least 2 weeks.
    But still what you say about the prime minister of an advanced country is quite disturbing. I do hope that it is slightly exaggerated.

  14. I would say that in the UK this is happening – liberal churches are in free fall, the elderly congregations are dying off. The only thriving churches are the evangie clappy happy charismatic ones.  Everywhere i go there are churches turned into houses, shops, pubs (!) and museums.

    What is likely to happen IMO, is that there will be a hardcore remnant left of evolution denying, creationist, homophobic, mysoginist, tongue speaking fundies. 

    Interesting times though!


  15. It’s the internet providing communication, which allows critical thinkers to realize that their conclusions are shared by millions after all.  We are not alone any more!

  16. Interesting web page with research into Blighty church closures..not verified beyond general assumptions of  malaise…

    But suffice to say…religion is in deep trouble and seemingly unable to to do ‘eff all about it!

  17.  The wishy washy Episcopalians/Anglicans are dying out. Yet they are not particularly dangerous. 

    There are still many troublemaking bigots in their ranks…

    “Lord Carey says plans would cause deep divisions and likens opponents of gay marriage to Jews in Nazi Germany”

    …especially when they join up with other flavours of Christian bigotry with political leanings…

    “Carey joined David Burrowes, the backbench MP for Enfield Southgate, and former MP Ann Widdecombein protesting that neither the Lib Dem nor Tory 2010 manifesto included a pledge to legalise gay marriage.”

  18. One does wonder if the only good theist is not a neutered one, whether mild, fluffy, moderate, or other!…(what I hear you all howl did he really go there?)
    No I meant politically neutered…but on second thoughts!

  19. A move in the right direction but it still means a large proportion (the nothing in particular) are not thinking.  Basically they could probably also be categorised as ‘don’t give a shitists’.  The value proposition of the damage done by religions is small compared to that for their material comforts or allegiance to a football team for example.

    They could be susceptible to arguments either way and given the balance of effort and legislation I’m not sure whether the reilgious lobby is more likely to get converts or whether there extreme efforts is a symptom of desperation.


    Basically they could probably also be categorised as ‘don’t give a shitists’

    Yes indeed, and these are probably also responsible for ticking the religious affiliation tick box on census  etc!

    I am fairly convinced, although no tangible evidence just going on a little observation of the human character, that a significant percentage of ticked boxes represent a …’well got to tick summat’ that one will do!’

    Or they are just ticking a familiar concept, not because they agree with it just to not leave a blank answer on the page!
    It is more a vague conditioning like when they attend a marriage ceremony all of a sudden they are in church and they instinctively go all hushed, and serious although trying not to giggle so not looking at ya mates!..not for any ‘very ‘eavy very ‘umble afore de lawd’ reason,  just because they think that is what is expected of them.

    But religion is not and never has been their central tenet or philosophy and probably since they were kids or teenagers maybe.
    Problem is the religious authorities take any advantage of the accrued score for the delusional box in a census despite probably realising that the figures although not accurate are just mightily handy!

    It would not surprise me if the true figure of atheistic tendency in the UK & the USA were not actually banging on the 55% margins in such surveys.

    It would be hilarious, if the swing became so marked in society in say another 5 years that suddenly politicians started bragging about their atheism, that would be sweet, still would not vote for the buggers though!

  21. Well, the report does mention that “young adults today are much more likely to be 
    unaffiliated than previous generations were at a similar stage in their lives. ” 
    So my guess is not all will turn into old age driven fundies 😉

  22. Positive news indeed!

    I wonder though, have any studies been done on people as
    they age? People do seem to recognize their own “mortality” as they move through
    the years. I wonder how many of these, “nones” will convert to some brand of
    christianity …just to be on the safe side when they die?

  23.  But the ones that play at Pascal’s wager are not the ones that do the most damage to society.
    Their advanced age counts against their influence in society, they are not particularly dangerous, only to their own dignity.

    It is the sexually dysfunctional and the scammers for cash, the haters and the liars,  along with the narcissists that all demand power and position to influence power and place a straitjacket on society that protects and insulates themselves from criticism or mockery of their insanity and woeful ignorance.
    It is their fear, bigotry, ignorance and cowardice they wish to promote and infect into others.

    It is not what they ‘believe’ or pretend they ‘believe’  it is the intense intention to dumb children down to a level that the meme is carried on to another generation, it is the actively campaigning for a theocracy in one form or another, it is the assumed privilege, received sycophancy and power in society they drool after.

    It is the cretins that want to formulate policy and law in government, that directly affect minorities even the significant ones, and in so doing insure unfairness and misery with copious amounts of fear are ladled on the sheeple, a frightened sheep, anxious and disenfranchised sheep  is not a threatening sheep.
    Those are the ones that the rabid toxicity flows from, and those are the ones we should challenge,  and to do so at any and every opportunity.

  24. I can’t help wondering what the percentage is of people who have a religious affiliation of some sort but who don’t actually believe in God (e.g. , those who attend church solely for social reasons).  I suspect it is much, much higher than those who claim no religious affiliation.

  25.  Absolutely that was my point earlier, there are folk that are happy enough to be regarded as a theist simply because…

    a) It is culturally expected
    b) Apart from the expectations, society demands a pandering deference to the meme, failure to comply can be regarded as a stigma.
    c) The clergy cajole the congregation into compliance and to go against the flow singles one out  not only as anti-social but anti-god….in some states it can be regarded in certain quarters as a sign of the devil.
    d) It is easier to comply then signal your doubt.
    e) Some could not care about the debate anyway.

    I figure the real figure of skepticks is far far higher then Pew could ever dream of.

    It leaves me the mental impression of a whole congregation totally devoid of ‘faith’ all ‘praisin de lawd’ and not one believer b’twixt or b’tween ’em!
    Who is to say that is not an occurrence every Sunday up and down the country, and not one of them can say anything to anybody else because the fear of ostracism  is so very real.
    We are all aware of the ‘clergy project’ it does happen to at least one in a church, then why not innumerable swathes within the pews?
    A clergy smitten with reality can usually move on, some parishioners are stuck with family and neighbours…different ballgame!


    I can’t help wondering what the percentage is of people who have a religious affiliation of some sort but who don’t actually believe in God (e.g. , those who attend church solely for social reasons).

    You mean those who are dragged along to church by husbands, wives, or parents, but escape once out of the nest?

  27. Among others.  There are also those who actively like the social aspects and go to church to part of a community even though they don’t have any strong beliefs.

    Rather than asking about religious affiliations, I would love to see a survey simply asking whether people actually believe in God or not and, if so, whether they believe in a personal God or just some nebulous “well, somebody must have created the universe”  sort of deistic entity.

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