Number of Atheists in the U.S. Spikes; Protestants a Minority for the First Time

A new study has found that for the first time the U.S. does not have a Protestant majority. The report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released Tuesday put the number of Protestant adults below 50 percent (at 48 percent) for the first time in polling history. The reason for this is partly attributed to the spike in Americans who claim no religion (20 percent, compared to 15 percent five years ago.) The Pew study noted:


Their ranks [the non-religious] now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6 percent of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14 percent)… The growth in the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans – sometimes called the rise of the “nones” – is largely driven by generational replacement, the gradual supplanting of older generations by newer ones.

The data about the falling number of Protestants was collected from a sizable sample of 17,000 people. Similarly, a census reportearlier this year found “for the first time” whites were surpassed as the majority in the U.S. Of course before European settlement a few centuries ago the area that’s now the U.S. had neither white nor Protestant populations.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.