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American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population

American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population

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The aim of this report is to provide detailed evidence and reliable statistics on just who the Nones
are, their sentiments, the process by which they have grown, and their place in contemporary
American society. Data from 1990 is presented to highlight selected characteristics where change
over time is particularly notable. We also try to predict the future trajectory of the Nones and so
their likely impact on where society is headed.
The aim of this report is to provide detailed evidence and reliable statistics on just who the Nones
are, their sentiments, the process by which they have grown, and their place in contemporary
American society. Data from 1990 is presented to highlight selected characteristics where change
over time is particularly notable. We also try to predict the future trajectory of the Nones and so
their likely impact on where society is headed.

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10/20/2013

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 American Nones:The Profile of the No Religion Population
 A Report Based on the American Religious Identification Survey 2008
Principal InvestigatorsBarry A. Kosmin & Ariela Keysar withRyan Cragun and Juhem Navarro-Rivera
 
 AMERICAN NONES: THE PROFILE OF THE NO RELIGION POPULATION
Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar with Ryan Cragun and Juhem Navarro-Rivera
The 1990s was the decade when theThe 1990s was the decade when theThe 1990s was the decade when theThe 1990s was the decade when the"secular boom" occurred"secular boom" occurred"secular boom" occurred"secular boom" occurred ---- each year 1.3each year 1.3each year 1.3each year 1.3million more adult Americans joined themillion more adult Americans joined themillion more adult Americans joined themillion more adult Americans joined theranks of the Nones. Since 2001 the annualranks of the Nones. Since 2001 the annualranks of the Nones. Since 2001 the annualranks of the Nones. Since 2001 the annualincrease has halved to 660,000 a year.increase has halved to 660,000 a year.increase has halved to 660,000 a year.increase has halved to 660,000 a year.(Fig.3.1)(Fig.3.1)(Fig.3.1)(Fig.3.1)Whereas Nones are presently 15% of theWhereas Nones are presently 15% of theWhereas Nones are presently 15% of theWhereas Nones are presently 15% of thetotal adult U.S. population, 22% of total adult U.S. population, 22% of total adult U.S. population, 22% of total adult U.S. population, 22% of Americans aged 18Americans aged 18Americans aged 18Americans aged 18----29 years self 29 years self 29 years self 29 years self----identify asidentify asidentify asidentify asNones. (Fig.1.2)Nones. (Fig.1.2)Nones. (Fig.1.2)Nones. (Fig.1.2)In terms of Belonging (self In terms of Belonging (self In terms of Belonging (self In terms of Belonging (self----identification) 1identification) 1identification) 1identification) 1in 6 Americans is presently of No Religion,in 6 Americans is presently of No Religion,in 6 Americans is presently of No Religion,in 6 Americans is presently of No Religion,while in terms of Belief and Behavior thewhile in terms of Belief and Behavior thewhile in terms of Belief and Behavior thewhile in terms of Belief and Behavior theratio is higher around 1 in 4. (Fig. 1.17)ratio is higher around 1 in 4. (Fig. 1.17)ratio is higher around 1 in 4. (Fig. 1.17)ratio is higher around 1 in 4. (Fig. 1.17)Regarding belief in the divine, most NonesRegarding belief in the divine, most NonesRegarding belief in the divine, most NonesRegarding belief in the divine, most Nonesare neither atheists nor theists but ratherare neither atheists nor theists but ratherare neither atheists nor theists but ratherare neither atheists nor theists but ratheragnostics and deists (59%) and perhapsagnostics and deists (59%) and perhapsagnostics and deists (59%) and perhapsagnostics and deists (59%) and perhapsbest described as skeptics. (Fig.1.17)best described as skeptics. (Fig.1.17)best described as skeptics. (Fig.1.17)best described as skeptics. (Fig.1.17)The most significant difference between theThe most significant difference between theThe most significant difference between theThe most significant difference between thereligious and nonreligious and nonreligious and nonreligious and non----religious populations is areligious populations is areligious populations is areligious populations is agender gap. (Fig. 1.17)gender gap. (Fig. 1.17)gender gap. (Fig. 1.17)gender gap. (Fig. 1.17)
Whereas 19% of American men areWhereas 19% of American men areWhereas 19% of American men areWhereas 19% of American men areNones only 12% of American womenNones only 12% of American womenNones only 12% of American womenNones only 12% of American womenare Nones. (Fig. 2.1)are Nones. (Fig. 2.1)are Nones. (Fig. 2.1)are Nones. (Fig. 2.1)
The gender ratio among Nones is 60The gender ratio among Nones is 60The gender ratio among Nones is 60The gender ratio among Nones is 60males for every 40 females. (Fig.1.1)males for every 40 females. (Fig.1.1)males for every 40 females. (Fig.1.1)males for every 40 females. (Fig.1.1)
Women are less likely to switch out of Women are less likely to switch out of Women are less likely to switch out of Women are less likely to switch out of religion than men.religion than men.religion than men.religion than men.
Women are also less likely to stay nonWomen are also less likely to stay nonWomen are also less likely to stay nonWomen are also less likely to stay non----religious when they are born and raisedreligious when they are born and raisedreligious when they are born and raisedreligious when they are born and raisedin a nonin a nonin a nonin a non----religious family.religious family.religious family.religious family.Most Nones are 1st generationMost Nones are 1st generationMost Nones are 1st generationMost Nones are 1st generation ---- only 32%only 32%only 32%only 32%of "current" Nones report they were None atof "current" Nones report they were None atof "current" Nones report they were None atof "current" Nones report they were None atage 12. (Fig.1.10)age 12. (Fig.1.10)age 12. (Fig.1.10)age 12. (Fig.1.10)24% of current Nones (and 35% of 1st24% of current Nones (and 35% of 1st24% of current Nones (and 35% of 1st24% of current Nones (and 35% of 1stgeneration or "new" Nones) are formergeneration or "new" Nones) are formergeneration or "new" Nones) are formergeneration or "new" Nones) are formerCatholics. (Fig. 1.10)Catholics. (Fig. 1.10)Catholics. (Fig. 1.10)Catholics. (Fig. 1.10)Geography remains a factorGeography remains a factorGeography remains a factorGeography remains a factor ---- more than 1more than 1more than 1more than 1in 5 people in certain regions (the West,in 5 people in certain regions (the West,in 5 people in certain regions (the West,in 5 people in certain regions (the West,New England) are Nones.New England) are Nones.New England) are Nones.New England) are Nones.Class is not a distinguishing characteristic:Class is not a distinguishing characteristic:Class is not a distinguishing characteristic:Class is not a distinguishing characteristic:Nones are not different from theNones are not different from theNones are not different from theNones are not different from thegeneral population by education or income.general population by education or income.general population by education or income.general population by education or income.(Figs 1.6 & 1.7)(Figs 1.6 & 1.7)(Figs 1.6 & 1.7)(Figs 1.6 & 1.7)Race is a declining factor in differentiating Race is a declining factor in differentiating Race is a declining factor in differentiating Race is a declining factor in differentiating Nones. Latinos have tripled their proportionNones. Latinos have tripled their proportionNones. Latinos have tripled their proportionNones. Latinos have tripled their proportionamong Nones from 1990among Nones from 1990among Nones from 1990among Nones from 1990----2008 from 4% to2008 from 4% to2008 from 4% to2008 from 4% to12%. (Fig.1.4)12%. (Fig.1.4)12%. (Fig.1.4)12%. (Fig.1.4)The ethnic/racial profile of Nones showsThe ethnic/racial profile of Nones showsThe ethnic/racial profile of Nones showsThe ethnic/racial profile of Nones showsAsians, Irish and Jews are the mostAsians, Irish and Jews are the mostAsians, Irish and Jews are the mostAsians, Irish and Jews are the mostsecularized ethnic origin groups. Onesecularized ethnic origin groups. Onesecularized ethnic origin groups. Onesecularized ethnic origin groups. One----thirdthirdthirdthirdof the Nones claim Irish ancestry.of the Nones claim Irish ancestry.of the Nones claim Irish ancestry.of the Nones claim Irish ancestry.(Figs 1.4 & 1.5)(Figs 1.4 & 1.5)(Figs 1.4 & 1.5)(Figs 1.4 & 1.5)Nones are much more likely to believe inNones are much more likely to believe inNones are much more likely to believe inNones are much more likely to believe inhuman evolution (61%) than the generalhuman evolution (61%) than the generalhuman evolution (61%) than the generalhuman evolution (61%) than the generalAmerican public (38%). (Fig. 1.15)American public (38%). (Fig. 1.15)American public (38%). (Fig. 1.15)American public (38%). (Fig. 1.15)Politically, 21% of the nation'sPolitically, 21% of the nation'sPolitically, 21% of the nation'sPolitically, 21% of the nation'sindependents are Nones, as are 16% of independents are Nones, as are 16% of independents are Nones, as are 16% of independents are Nones, as are 16% of Democrats and 8% of Republicans. InDemocrats and 8% of Republicans. InDemocrats and 8% of Republicans. InDemocrats and 8% of Republicans. In1990, 12% of independents were Nones, as1990, 12% of independents were Nones, as1990, 12% of independents were Nones, as1990, 12% of independents were Nones, aswere 6% of Democrats and 6% of were 6% of Democrats and 6% of were 6% of Democrats and 6% of were 6% of Democrats and 6% of Republicans. (Fig. 2.1)Republicans. (Fig. 2.1)Republicans. (Fig. 2.1)Republicans. (Fig. 2.1)
HighlightsHighlightsHighlightsHighlights
 
American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population
ContentsContentsContentsContents
IntroductionIntroductionIntroductionIntroduction ............................................................................................................................................iiiiMethodological NoteMethodological NoteMethodological NoteMethodological Note .............................................................................................................................iiiiiiiiPart IPart IPart IPart IProfile of the No Religion (None) Population 2008Profile of the No Religion (None) Population 2008Profile of the No Religion (None) Population 2008Profile of the No Religion (None) Population 2008A.A.A.A.SocioSocioSocioSocio----demographicsdemographicsdemographicsdemographics ....................................................................................................1111Figure 1.1Figure 1.1Figure 1.1Figure 1.1Gender Distribution of Adult NonesGender Distribution of Adult NonesGender Distribution of Adult NonesGender Distribution of Adult Nonesand U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008.........................................................................1111Figure 1.2Figure 1.2Figure 1.2Figure 1.2Age Distribution of Adult NonesAge Distribution of Adult NonesAge Distribution of Adult NonesAge Distribution of Adult Nonesand U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008.........................................................................1111Figure 1.3Figure 1.3Figure 1.3Figure 1.3Marital Status of Adult NonesMarital Status of Adult NonesMarital Status of Adult NonesMarital Status of Adult Nonesand U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008.........................................................................2222Figure 1.4Figure 1.4Figure 1.4Figure 1.4Racial and Ethnic Composition of Adult NonesRacial and Ethnic Composition of Adult NonesRacial and Ethnic Composition of Adult NonesRacial and Ethnic Composition of Adult Nonesand U.S. Adults 1990 and 2008and U.S. Adults 1990 and 2008and U.S. Adults 1990 and 2008and U.S. Adults 1990 and 2008.......................................................3333Figure 1.5Figure 1.5Figure 1.5Figure 1.5Selected Ancestry of Adult Nones 2008Selected Ancestry of Adult Nones 2008Selected Ancestry of Adult Nones 2008Selected Ancestry of Adult Nones 2008...........................................3333Figure 1.6Figure 1.6Figure 1.6Figure 1.6Educational Attainment of Nones and U.S. AdultsEducational Attainment of Nones and U.S. AdultsEducational Attainment of Nones and U.S. AdultsEducational Attainment of Nones and U.S. AdultsAge 25 Years and Over, 1990 and 2008Age 25 Years and Over, 1990 and 2008Age 25 Years and Over, 1990 and 2008Age 25 Years and Over, 1990 and 2008.........................................4444Figure 1.7Figure 1.7Figure 1.7Figure 1.7Household Income Distribution of Adult NonesHousehold Income Distribution of Adult NonesHousehold Income Distribution of Adult NonesHousehold Income Distribution of Adult Nonesand U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008.........................................................................4444Figure 1.8Figure 1.8Figure 1.8Figure 1.8Political Party Preference of Adult NonesPolitical Party Preference of Adult NonesPolitical Party Preference of Adult NonesPolitical Party Preference of Adult Nonesand U.S. Adults 1990 and 2008and U.S. Adults 1990 and 2008and U.S. Adults 1990 and 2008and U.S. Adults 1990 and 2008.......................................................5555B.B.B.B.OriginsOriginsOriginsOrigins ...........................................................................................................................6666Figure 1.9Figure 1.9Figure 1.9Figure 1.9Family Background of Adult Nones 2008Family Background of Adult Nones 2008Family Background of Adult Nones 2008Family Background of Adult Nones 2008.........................................6666Figure 1.10Figure 1.10Figure 1.10Figure 1.10Religious Background of NonesReligious Background of NonesReligious Background of NonesReligious Background of Nonesand U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008.........................................................................7777C.C.C.C.GeographyGeographyGeographyGeography ....................................................................................................................9999Figure 1.11Figure 1.11Figure 1.11Figure 1.11Geographic Distribution of NonesGeographic Distribution of NonesGeographic Distribution of NonesGeographic Distribution of Nonesand U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008and U.S. Adults 2008.........................................................................9999Figure 1.12Figure 1.12Figure 1.12Figure 1.12Percentage Distribution of the None PopulationPercentage Distribution of the None PopulationPercentage Distribution of the None PopulationPercentage Distribution of the None Populationby Census Division 2008by Census Division 2008by Census Division 2008by Census Division 2008.................................................................10101010

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