The Rise of the Religiously Unaffiliated

Rusty Snippets

Mr Conservative
Staff member
May 17, 2020
In August, Harvard named Greg Epstein, an atheist, to serve as its chaplain. Epstein described his unusual appointment as a sign of the times. “There is a rising group of people who no longer identify with any religious tradition,” he said. Unfortunately, he is right. Secularism continues to gain ground on religion. The Pew Research Center says that “about three-in-ten U.S. Adults are now religiously unaffiliated.”

According to the polling group, “secularizing shifts evident in American society so far in the 21st century show no signs of slowing. The latest Pew Research Center survey of the religious composition of the United States finds the religiously unaffiliated share of the public is 6 percentage points higher than it was five years ago and 10 points higher than a decade ago.”

Pew Research Center says that fewer and fewer Americans identify as Christians. They still form a majority of the population but “their share of the adult population is 12 points lower in 2021 than it was in 2011.” Christians used to outnumber the “nones” — those who don’t affiliate with any religious tradition — “by almost five-to-one,” says the polling group. Now the ratio is “little more than two-to-one.”

Evangelical Protestantism is doing better than non-evangelical Protestantism, according to Pew Research Center, but both are declining: “Overall, both evangelical and non-evangelical Protestants have seen their shares of the population decline as the percentage of U.S. adults who identity with Protestantism has dropped. Today, 24% of U.S. adults describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Protestants, down 6 percentage points since 2007. During the same period, there also has been a 6-point decline in the share of adults who are Protestant but not born-again or evangelical (from 22% to 16%).”