October 31, 2007

One in Eight

12% of Americans do not identify with any religious tradition or consider themselves to be secular or atheist. That's very close to one in eight Americans. Particularly interesting is that age groupings seem to remain constant over time, and nearly one in five Americans under 30 years of age do not consider themselves to be religious.


zzi said...

This reminds me of one of my favs.

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” —Mark Twain

Burt Likko said...

I understand what you're saying, that people grow wiser as they age. I dispute that increased wisdom would change one's religious beliefs, though; seems to me that in most cases it would embed and reinforce previously-held beliefs rather than alter them.

If you RTFA, it suggests that is what actualy happens rather than what you suggest; people who identified as being religious, or not, in their teens back in the 1940's kept their statistical cleavage as they aged and new generations of people replaced them as teenagers. So 20% of Americans born in 1977 or later who do not identify with any religion will (as a group) likely continue to be non-religious throughout their lifetimes; so too are the other 80% who consider themselves to be religious likely to remain so.