Number of Religious ‘Nones’ Continue to Grow in the United States, Though Three States See Evangelical Growth

Those with no particular religious affiliation, often called “nones,” continue to grow in number in the United States, new data show.

Eastern Illinois University political science professor Ryan Burge explains in an essay for Religion in Public that while much of the media often frames the statistics that nones now constitute the largest religious group in the U.S., the reality is much more complicated. Nevertheless, the trend is clear.

Self-identified nones made up 22.2% of Americans in 2008, Burge noted; today they comprise 29.5%.

The aggregated data was taken from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study which has been conducted since 2006, and has a sample size that is 10 to 20 times the size of the General Social Survey, an older source of data that has regularly collected and maintained a record of concerns, experiences, attitudes, and practices of U.S. citizens since 1972.

When examined state-by-state, the CCES numbers tell a more interesting story.

From 2008–2018, Catholics saw the greatest decline as a share of the population in 24 states, though they increased their share of the population in Washington, D.C.

Similarly, evangelicals saw their numbers drop in the same way in 11 states. Mainline churches decreased by the greatest percentage in eight states.

In Arizona, Florida and Maryland, black Protestants declined the most. In Utah, Jews saw the greatest decrease in 10 years.

South Dakota was the lone state where those with no religion saw a decline, 0.3%, in its share of the total population.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter