Landmark Study Confirms One-Quarter of Americans Are Nonreligious

A groundbreaking study of over 100,000 Americans from all 50 states finds that nearly one-quarter (24%) of all Americans have no religious affiliation. This new report published by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) is the second study that has recorded such a high percentage of Americans with no religious affiliation. While the overall picture remains the same, this new study offers one of the most comprehensive overviews of who the nonreligious are. Some highlights include:

  • About one-quarter of the nonreligious identify as atheist (14%) or agnostic (13%). Most of the nonreligious identify as secular. 
  • Roughly one-third (34%) of nonreligious Americans are also under 30.
  • There are 20 states in which no religious group comprises a greater share of residents than the nonreligious. These states tend to be more concentrated in the Western U.S., although they include a couple of New England states, as well. More than four in ten (41%) residents of Vermont and approximately one-third of Americans in Oregon (36%), Washington (35%), Hawaii (34%), Colorado (33%), and New Hampshire (33%) have no religious affiliation.
  • Nearly half of LGBT Americans are religiously unaffiliated. Nearly half (46%) of Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) are religiously unaffiliated. This is roughly twice the number of Americans overall (24%) who are religiously unaffiliated.

Religiously unaffiliated Americans are also more likely to identify as independent (47%) than they are to identify as Democratic (33%) or Republican (11%) combined. Among religiously unaffiliated subgroups, atheists are more Democratic leaning, with more than four in ten (44%) identifying as Democrat.

The religiously unaffiliated are the largest religious demographic in the Democratic Party (26%). About one-in-ten Republicans (11%) are religiously unaffiliated. A whopping 40% of young Democrats are religiously unaffiliated.

Religiously unaffiliated Americans also lean liberal in their politics. More than four in ten (43%) identify as liberal, while 21% are conservative.

The data is clear. Secular Americans have the potential to reshape the political landscape! That’s why we launched the Secular Values Voter campaign, to organize, educate, and empower the next great voting bloc in American politics.


Spreading Happiness

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