Atheism Up, Religion Down in US

Atheists now make up 5% of population, says new survey
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 14, 2012 6:15 PM CDT
The proportion of people identifying as religious has decreased from 73% to 60% since 2005, a poll says.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Seven years ago, 73% of Americans identified as religious; now, that figure is down to 60%. Meanwhile, the proportion of the US calling itself atheist has climbed from 1% to 5%, a poll finds. Experts have an idea why: The year the poll was last taken, 2005, marked the beginning of a string of bestselling publications on atheism by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris, reports the Washington Post.

But a sociologist cautions that this doesn't mean more people are actually becoming atheists; instead, it's just that more people are OK acknowledging their atheism. Another pollster doubts the figures, suggesting the 13-point shift in religiosity is too quick. The international survey resulted in some more interesting tidbits:

  • China has the highest proportion of "convinced atheists": 47%.
  • The most religious countries include Ghana, Brazil, and Macedonia.
  • Poland, Moldova, and Saudi Arabia are similar to the US in their percentages of atheists.
Head to the Post for more. (Read more atheism stories.)

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |  
2%
1%
7%
43%
39%
8%