On Thursday Jan. 10, Gallup released a new daily tracking survey regarding religious identity. The survey has once again shown an increase in those who answer without religion. But the rise of the so called “nones” appears to be close to leveling out according to Gallup.
In 2011, the rise of the “nones” reached 17.5%. That is 1.1% higher than was reported in 2010. But in 2012, the “nones” only increased by .3% to 17.8% total. While this is a small increase compared to previous years, it is still an increase and perhaps a larger one than Gallup realizes.
According to Gallup:
“Those most likely to be ‘nones’ include Asians, young people, those living in the Pacific and New England regions, political independents, and men. Those least likely to be ‘nones’ include Republicans, older Americans, those living in the South, blacks, women, and Hispanics. These demographic and socioeconomic differences are consistent with other general measures of religiosity.”
Despite the fact that young adults are most likely to be “nones,” Gallup only surveyed adults 18 and over. Jesse Galef, Communications Director for the Secular Student Alliance thinks this is significant. He states that the Secular Student Alliance “currently supports 394 campus groups for nonreligious students, up from 310 a year ago.”
In fact, high school atheist and freethought groups are also on the rise. According to Galef, “The high school program has grown from 31 groups at the end of the Fall 2011 semester to 61 groups at the close of Fall 2012.” Those involved on the high school level are usually below the age of 18 and therefore were not counted in the Gallup tracking poll.
Galef points out that:
“Anyone hoping for the Secular American population to slow down is going to be disappointed. With demographic patterns like these, which way do you think the country is going? America is trending secular, and the youth are leading the way.”
While the increase in “nones” among adults has slowed down in the past year, the trend toward secularism is still expected to continue. Time and the free access to information will only help the secular movement to grow and the “nones” will continue to rise.
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