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 346 comments Comments 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.