WSW: Religious "Nones" On The Rise In The United States

Feb 15, 2016

Credit Rossograph, Wikimedia Commons

The Pew Research Center finds that more people in the United States finds that more people don’t have any religious affiliation. Pew Center Senior Researcher Jessica Hamar Martinez will discuss those findings Tuesday night at Kalamazoo College. 


Her address is called Nones on the Rise, One in Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation. It begins at 7:00 Tuesday evening in the Olmstead Room at K-College’s Mandell Hall.

Martinez says the “nones” are people who say they are atheist, agnostic or don’t identify with any particular religion. She says that group has grown significantly since Pew’s last Religious Landscape study seven years earlier. Martinez says that is driven largely by the millennial generation.

Some highlights.

  • The increase in atheists and agnostics is small, but there is also a decline in the certainty of people who say they believe in God.
  • People who do identify with a religious group have grown more observant. Martinez says that includes more scripture reading, participation in things like prayer groups and sharing their faith with others.
  • The older “millennials” have not moved in the direction of becoming more religious. Martinez says it’s still a short period of time. But so far, the lack of religious affiliation appears to be an ongoing trend.

Martinez says views on religion tend to align with social and political issues. She says there has been an increase in the religiously unaffiliated among Democratic voters, and a smaller increase of the “nones” among Republicans.

Image from Wikimedia Commons