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Nonedecision 2020: 5 Reasons Secular Americans are Poised to become Major Force in US Politics

Apr 28, 2020

By Juhem Navarro-Rivera

One of the demographic aspects of the nones (Americans who answer “atheist,” “agnostic,” or “nothing in particular” when asked their religious affiliation) that’s been well covered in the media is how the group’s growth is fueled by young people, particularly those under the age of thirty. What’s not necessarily known is how much younger secular Americans are compared to religious Americans.

Data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) shows that in 2018 nearly three in ten (28 percent) of nones were under thirty. This is almost double the number of Protestants in that age group (15 percent) and well over the number of young Catholics (18 percent). This bodes well for the future of secular Americans in politics; as older, more conservative groups continue aging and the nones start entering their prime years, their impact in elections will increase, hopefully leading to policymaking that is more respectful of science, critical thinking, and expertise.

Secular Americans are Racially Diverse and More Politically United

The main Christian groups in the country have racial and ethnic breakdowns that are very different from the nation as a whole. Latinx Americans, for example, are overrepresented among Catholic identifiers while white and Black Americans are overrepresented among Protestants.

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