Nones: A term used by religion scholars and pollsters to describe Americans unaffiliated with any religion – people who respond “none of the above” in a survey about religious preference.
Image source: Secular.org.
The recent presidential election revealed the rising influence of “nones” in public life, according to a New York Times story published November 10 (“Christian Conservatives Failed to Sway Voters on Issues”):
The election results are just one indication of larger trends in American religion that Christian conservatives are still digesting, political analysts say. Americans who have no religious affiliation — pollsters call them the “nones” — are now about one-fifth of the population over all, according to a study released last month by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Chart source: “Nones on the Rise,” Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Among the findings of the Pew study:
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. A third of adults under 30 have no religious affiliation (32%), compared with just one-in-ten who are 65 and older (9%). And young adults today are much more likely to be unaffiliated than previous generations were at a similar stage in their lives.
According to the Pew study, the religiously unaffiliated are “about twice as likely to describe themselves as political liberals than as conservatives, and solid majorities support legal abortion (72%) and same-sex marriage (73%). In the last five years, the unaffiliated have risen from 17% to 24% of all registered voters who are Democrats or lean Democratic.”