19% of Americans Have No Religion
Proportion of 'Nones' has tripled since 1990
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2012 5:44 AM CDT
This billboard was erected by atheists in Oklahoma City.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – America is slowly losing its religion, according to the latest Pew Center survey. Reported membership of major religious denominations (from Baptists to Catholics to Lutherans) is flat or inching downward, while the proportion of those who list their religious affiliations as "None" has reached 19%, up from just 6% in 1990, reports USA Today. The "Nones" include atheists, agnostics, and those who simply say they believe "nothing in particular."

"None" is becoming the "default category," says sociologist Barry Kosmin. "Young people are resistant to the authority of institutional religion, older people are turned off by the politicization of religion, and people are simply less into theology than ever before," he says. But demographics might hold the number of Nones down, notes a Duke University expert. They tend to be young, single, and highly educated, all groups with low birth rates, and a big proportion of immigrants to the US come from highly religious countries like Mexico.