Religious ‘Nones’ Fastest Growing Group in the U.S.; 3 States See Rise in Evangelicals
A new study reveals that the number of “nones” – those who are not affiliated with any religion – continues to rise in the United States.
Eastern Illinois University professor Ryan P. Burge explained on Religion in Public that self-identified nones have risen from 22.2% of Americans in 2008 to 29.5% in 2018, making them the largest religious group in the country. Burge caveats the results, however, sharing that “it’s way more complicated than that.”
Earlier this year, a General Social Survey was released indicating the change in size of religious groups. Burge, who is also a Baptist pastor, tweeted a graph of the changes and the information went viral.
He decided to run the same numbers through a different survey, the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, which has a larger sample size and thus creates a smaller margin of error and shows state-wide changes.
What he found was consistent with the General Social Survey. Nones are still on the rise, but he also broke down each state to see changes in each of them, revealing that decreases in religion by state are much more modest.
Catholics lost three percentage points, but Burge points out that unless “those losses are sustained for another few survey cycles, then we can say with some certainty that Catholics are on the downward swing.” Mainline churches and evangelicals only saw a small decline as well.
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