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Religious “Nones” Are Now the Biggest Religious Group in America

This is huge news, from General Social Survey data:

As Religion News Service reports:

Americans claiming “no religion” — sometimes referred to as “nones” because of how they answer the question “what is your religious tradition?” — now represent about 23.1 percent of the population, up from 21.6 percent in 2016. People claiming evangelicalism, by contrast, now represent 22.5 percent of Americans, a slight dip from 23.9 percent in 2016.

Catholics, meanwhile, are at 23 percent. A statistical tie for now, but that graph shows clearly that nones are surging as the number of Catholics declines.

Religious “nones” are a big story precisely because most of them are younger, and this is sure to influence American culture in the decades to come. America is simply becoming less and less religious.

According to Pew’s Religious Landscape Study, of the 22.8 percent of the population who identify as “nones,” 35 percent of them are 18-29 and 37 percent of them are 30-49.

The more stunning trend is that the number of people who “believe in God” is much lower as you get younger.

From that same Pew study, only 51 percent of the population aged 18-29 believe in God and are certain of their belief, compared to 62 percent of the 30-49 population and 69 and 70 percent of the 50-64 and 65+ populations, respectively.

That means young Americans are roughly a third less likely to believe in God than older Americans. All this in the span of 20-30 years.

If demographic trends continue, it’s not hard to imagine a nation in which most Americans don’t believe in God with any certainty, a nation in which “nones” are the majority, not just the plurality.

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