March of the Nones: Who ARE these folks who have no religious I.D.?

American sample of opinion
Who are the nones? What is their demographic profile?


Are the nones—those who say they don’t have a religious affiliation—a fringe group? How similar are they to Americans who declare an affiliation?

Looking at recent data: The percentage of nones has doubled since 1990, rising from 8.1% to 15%. (Scroll down to see Monday’s post.) This trend has led some to call the 1990s the secular decade.

Are men or women more likely to be nones? Men are more likely to say they don’t have a religious affiliation—about 60% of the nones. Men are more likely to switch out of a religion, and more likely to stay a none if they were raised in a family of nones.

Where do nones live? They live throughout the United States but tend to concentrate in the West and New England. But this bicoastal tendency is not as strong now as it was in 1990, showing that the March of the Nones is occurring everywhere.

Age is a big factor, as I mentioned yesterday. Younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to say they don’t have a religion. But the young don’t have a monopoly: the percentage of nones has grown in every age group since 1990.

Does class matter? Nope. It surprised me to learn that there are no differences between nones and the rest of the American population when it comes to household income and education.

In a nutshell, nones are not a fringe group. While they are still small in number, their ranks are becoming more representative of Americans in general—at least according to their demographics.

What about their values? Do they share values with Americans who have religious affiliations? We’ll take that up tomorrow.
I do know that a good number of our regular readers are nones—or know nones—so, please, I’d really like to hear your views on these factors I’m describing today.

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