Who are the “Nones”?
The “nones” is a nickname for those Americans who don’t claim a particular religious affiliation. The name comes from choosing “none” when asked what their religious affiliation is when asked.
The “nones” are increasing in number, according to recent surveys.
What Percentage of Americans are “Nones”?
According to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religious and Public Life, approximately 20% of Americans, or roughly 60 million people in the United States, now claim no particular religious affiliation.
The number is doubled what it was from two from the 1980’s and has increased by 5% since just 2007.
What is Common about the “Nones”?
The “nones” vary just like any group; nevertheless, there are some detectable trends.
While “nones” comprise 9% of the 65-and-over population, they make up 32% of the 30-and-under population.
The “nones” also tend to be political progressives. 72% of “nones” are pro-choice and 73% support same-sex marriage.
However, the biggest observable commonality among the “nones” is age. According to Pew:
One important factor behind the growth of the religiously unaffiliated is generational replacement, the gradual supplanting of older generations by newer ones. Among the youngest Millennials (those ages 18-22, who were minors in 2007 and thus not eligible to be interviewed in Pew Research Center surveys conducted that year), fully one-third (34%) are religiously unaffiliated, compared with about one-in-ten members of the Silent Generation (9%) and one-in-twenty members of the World War II-era Greatest Generation (5%). Older Millennials (ages 23-30) also are substantially less likely than prior generations to be religiously affiliated.
But generational replacement is not the only factor at play. Generation Xers and Baby Boomers also have become more religiously unaffiliated in recent years. In 2012, 21% of Gen Xers and 15% of Baby Boomers describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, up slightly (but by statistically significant margins) from 18% and 12%, respectively, since 2007. The trend lines for earlier generations are essentially flat. Not only are young adults less likely to be affiliated than their elders, but the GSS shows that the percentage of Americans who were raised without an affiliation has been rising gradually, from about 3% in the early 1970s to about 8% in the past decade. However, the overwhelming majority of the “nones” were brought up in a religious tradition. The new Pew Research Center/Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly survey finds that about three-quarters of unaffiliated adults were raised with some affiliation (74%).