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Survey: Nonbelievers, Especially LGBTQ Nonbelievers, Face Significant Discrimination and Stima

May 5, 2020

By John Riley

A newly published survey of Americans who identify as nonreligious finds that more than half say they’ve experienced negativity — including, at times, a lack of support — from family members, and, as a result, are more likely to experience depression or feelings of loneliness.

Specifically, of those who experienced familial rejection or discrimination, there was a 71.2% higher rate of likely depression than nonbelievers with more accepting families, according to the U.S. Secular Survey, in which researchers at the Strength in Numbers Consulting Group polled 34,000 nonreligious Americans from October to November 2019. The survey marks the largest-ever data collection project on the attitudes, backgrounds, and experiences of secular Americans.

LGBTQ nonbelievers were significantly more likely to have had “very” or “somewhat” unsupportive parents, with 43% of respondents reporting lower rates of family support, compared to 35% of non-LGBTQ participants — thus making them more susceptible to depression and isolation.

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