From: Religion News Service – Kimberly Winston
Losing our religion: One in five Americans are now ‘nones’
The number of Americans who say they have no religious affiliation has hit an all-time high — about one in five American adults — according to a new study released Tuesday (Oct. 9) by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Labeled “nones” because they claim either no religious preference or no religion at all, their ranks have hit 46 million people. Much of the growth is among young people — one in three U.S. adults under 30 are now considered nones.
The report also found that the number of self-described atheists and agnostics has hit a peak — 13 million people, or 6 percent of the U.S. population. That’s a rise of 2 percentage points over five years.
And while the “nones” are growing, Protestantism is on the decline, shrinking from 62 percent of the religiously affiliated in 1972 to 51 percent in 2010. Meanwhile, the number of U.S. Catholics held steady, at about one in four Americans.