An Oct. 9, 2012 Pew Report shows that "Nones" are on the Rise. The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion has grown to one-fifth of the total U.S. public and one-third of adults under 30.
In the last five years, the religiously unaffiliated has increased from just over 15 percent to just under 20 percent among all U.S. adults, with more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics, representing around 6 percent of the U.S. public. Nearly 33 million people say they have no particular religious affiliation.
The findings of the joint survey conducted by Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life and Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly show that the majority unaffiliated adults ARE religious or spiritual in some way with 68 percent saying they believe in God and 58 percent reporting they feel a "deep connection with nature and earth." A little more than a third classify themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious” (37 percent), and (21 percent) admit to daily prayer.
While the study found a 4.3 percent rise in those listed as "unaffiliated" since 2007, it found that the Protestant population has shrunk by -5 percent. Big factors in the shift seem to be generational replacement and lack of commitment to religion.
The survey found that most of those who are unaffiliated readily admit they are not looking for a religion that "would be right for them" and think that "religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics."
Interestingly, the report shows that aside from possible eternal implications, there is also a "party line" divide.
Today, the religiously unaffiliated are clearly more numerous than any of these groups within the Democratic coalition (24 percent unaffiliated, 16 percent black Protestant, 14 percent white mainline Protestant, 13 percent white Catholic). By contrast, Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters are only slightly more likely to be religiously unaffiliated today than they were in 2007 (11 percent vs. 9 percent).
The study is extensive with a generous cross-section of demographics used to arrive at its conclusions. But beyond the interesting statistics, what do you think is the reason for the rise in those unaffiliated? Are you among the unaffiliated? Is there anything the Protestant churches can do to make a significant impact? Do you think this is another statistic that will factor into the Presidential election?