More Than 25% of American Individuals Do Not Identify as Religious

( – The United States has always been a very religious place. A person can’t drive down a long road in the country without running into a church or 10. As the nation has changed, so have its religious beliefs. A new study shows just how much.

On January 24, the Pew Research Center released a study about the religious “nones” in the country. Those are the people who are either agnostics (people who neither believe nor disbelieve in God), atheists (nonbelievers), or those who say they are “nothing in particular.” Approximately 28% of the American population is not affiliated with any religion. Of that group, 17% are atheists, 20% are agnostics, and 63% are “nothing in particular.”

The non-partisan think tank decided to take a look at that group of people. They wanted to answer some questions about what they do and don’t believe in, if they are opposed to religion, their feelings about science, and other questions.

The research found:

  • most people in these groups believe religion is harmful in some ways but think it’s also important;
  • they are not anti-religious;
  • The group that doesn’t believe in anything in particular don’t vote as often as those who are religiously affiliated, but atheists and agnostics participate at a higher or equal rate;
  • the “nones” don’t do as much volunteer work;
  • most don’t believe science can explain everything but have a more positive view of it than other Americans who are religiously affiliated do; and
  • although most believe in some form of higher power, they don’t go to church or other religious services regularly.

The majority of the people belonging to this group are white and are almost evenly split between men and women. They are also more likely to identify as liberal. In 2007, the “nones” were about 16% of the adult population, but it has increased steadily over the last two decades.

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