Rise in Religiously Unaffiliated Holds Promise for the Future, Says Secular Organization

For Immediate Release: October 9, 2012
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
press@centerforinquiry.org - (207) 358-9785

A new survey showing that just under 20 percent of American adults claim no religious affiliation was heralded by the Center for Inquiry, an international organization advocating for science, reason, and secular values. 

Data released today by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that the religiously unaffiliated (nicknamed the “nones”) make up 19.6% of the U.S. adult population, with a significant 29% of those describing themselves as atheist or agnostic — 6% of the total population, or 13 million people. Adults under 30 showed the largest rise, with fully 32% claiming no religious affiliation.

“Though the ‘unaffiliated’ are not entirely made up of nonbelievers, the fact that one in five Americans have rejected traditional religion means that the enormous influence religion has had over policy and culture will continue to wane,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, President and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “Furthermore, thanks to the high percentage of ‘nones’ among the younger generations, these numbers tell us that we are closer than ever to realizing a society in which religious dogma has no significant influence on public policy—that is, a society based on reason and science rather than myth and superstition.”

CFI has been instrumental in advocating on behalf of the nonreligious, and fostering community for those that have turned away from traditional religion, and seek a movement based on reason and the freedom to question. Its Office of Public Policy works to bring a rational perspective to government and politics, local CFI branches provide social events and grassroots activism, CFI On Campus cultivates the upcoming generation of secular leaders, and initiatives such as African Americans for Humanism and the Campaign for Free Expression open new doors and champion causes of great import. 

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.