It’s Not Just Young White Liberals Who Are Leaving Religion

Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly survey.

Poll (s) of the week

Only 47 percent of American adults said they were members of a church, mosque, or synagogue Polls Gallup conducted over the past year. It was the first time a majority of Americans said so Not Members of a church, mosque, or synagogue, since Gallup first asked Americans about their religious membership in the 1930s. Indeed, Gallup’s finding was kind of a turning point by doing Americans have turned away from organized religion for many years.

What is driving this shift? In part, it’s about people who still identify with a religious tradition and choose not to be a member of a particular community. Only 60 percent of Americans who consider themselves religious are part of a community, compared to 70 percent a decade ago, according to Gallup. But the bigger factor, Gallup said, is the rise of religiously disconnected Americans – people who are agnostics, atheists, or simply say they are not in any religious tradition. The rise of this group – sometimes referred to as “Nones” because when they answer “none” asked about their beliefs (and, you know, it’s a play on words) – isn’t new. However, the Gallup poll is part of a growing body of new research on the block (including a recent book by one of us, Ryan’s “The Nones: where they came from, who they are and where they are going”).

Let’s take a look at some of the new discoveries about the Nones:

The nones are growing, but it’s hard to know exactly how many there are.

By almost all standards, the Nones now represent at least a fifth of all American adults who compete with Catholics and Evangelical Christians the largest cohort in the country in terms of religious beliefs (or lack thereof). They are the fastest growing religious / nonreligious cohort – the data rose from 12 percent of American adults in 1998 to 16 percent in 2008 and to 24 percent in 2018, according to the General Social Survey. Gallup sets up this group about 21 percent. Pew Research Center says 26 percent. The Cooperative election study suggests that their ranks are roughly even larger 32 percent.

Why the confusion about the exact number? First, there is no universal method that researchers use to ask people about their religious beliefs. For example, the GSS only offers an answer option for the Nones (“no religion”) while the CCES offers three (Atheist, agnostic, “nothing special”). Second, Americans are still clarifying exactly how far they are from religion, so the way these questions are asked also changes slightly can affect the results.

The Nones aren’t just young, well-educated, liberal whites.

Compared to the US population as a whole, they are non-religious Americans younger and more Democratically oriented. But the number of Americans who are not religious has increased in part because People in many demographic groups are breaking away from religion – Many Nones don’t fit this young, liberal stereotype. The average age of a nobody is 43 (so many are older than that). About a third of the nones (32 percent) are colored people. More than a quarter by Nones voted for Trump in 2020. And over 70 percent You do not have a four-year university degree.

The decline in the proportion of black (-11 percentage points) and Hispanic adults (-10 points) who are Christians over the past decade is very similar to the decline among white adults (-12 points). according to Pew. The number of university graduates who leave the faith (-13 points) is similar to that of no university graduates (-11 points). The decline in organized religion is much greater for Democrats (-17 points) than for Republicans (-7 points) and for Millennials (-16 points) compared to Baby Boomers (-6 points), but the trend is very broad.

The growing diversity of the nones explains a lot of the dynamics we’re seeing in America today. For example as opposed to the civil rights movements 1950s and 1960s, Black Lives Matter did not emerge from black Christian churches and is not mainly run by black pastors. Part of the story there is that some activists involved in the BLM view black churches as being too conservative, especially in terms of not being Inclusive enough of women and LGBTQ people. But another part of the story is simply that the Black Lives Matter movement was largely started by blacks under the age of 50. Many black Americans under the age of 50 like this their non-black counterpartsare detached from religion. About a third of Black Millennials are not religiously affiliated, compared with 11 percent of Black Baby Boomers. according to Pew.

Nones have three different cohorts.

The Nones can generally be divided into three groups: agnostics, atheists and a third block, which is much larger than the first two and is not assigned to any label – the “nothing special” block. According to CCES data from 2020About 6 percent of American adults are atheists and 5 percent are agnostics, while 21 percent of Americans describe their religious beliefs as “nothing special.” Especially agnostics and atheists tend to be disproportionately masculine, white, studied and Democratically oriented. Atheists in particular have quite negative views about this Churches and religious organizations.

In contrast, the “nothing special” block is more diverse – more people of color, more women, more Republicans, fewer people with college degrees. They tend not to have strongly negative views about churches and religious organizations. In contrast to the vast majority of atheists and agnostics, sometimes people in this group join “nothing special” (or rejoin) religious denominations. About a quarter of those who were nothing special joined religious denominations between 2010 and 2014, while only about 13 percent became atheistic or agnostic, according to an analysis of the CCES data. (Most of them remained nothing special.)

Again, these numbers help explain some of the things that happen in American culture and politics. The BLM movement did coordinates with black churches and black religious people – and that cooperation is likely to be facilitated by the fact that black nones are rarely atheists or agnostics and That’s why I don’t have negative feelings about churches and religious organizations that people in these groups often do. (About 12 percent of non-religious blacks are Atheists or agnosticscompared to about 39 percent of religiously unaffiliated whites.)

Religiously not affiliated with Republicans are usually not agnostics or atheists either – which probably makes it easier for them to stay in a party with a powerful evangelical wing. Only about 20 percent of Democrats are Atheists or agnostics – which does ______________ mean They are pretty comfortable with an overtly religious politician like President Biden as the party leader.

People are leaving the main Protestant churches and especially Catholicism.

The United States has about as many evangelicals (22 percent of American adults), Jewish Americans (2 percent), black Protestants (6 percent), and members of minor religions such as Islam and Hinduism (6 percent) as there were a decade ago. according to GSS data. It’s really two groups declining: Main Protestants (Think of bishops or Methodists) and Catholics.

Some of that decline is going around Young people – Older members of these denominations who die are not replaced by a younger cohort. But older people are now increasing shift from Christian to also not connected – especially older people who lean politically to the left. As a result, main Christianity is not only declining, it is becoming more conservative. Between 2008 and 2018, three of the greatest major traditions (the United Methodists, the Episcopalians, and the United Church of Christ) more republicans.

Nobody leaves religion not only because of Christian law.

People who leave Christianity often cite the policies of the Christian right that are turning them off. However, some of the evidence presented here suggests that this is likely not the only explanation. There is a general departure from organized religion by Americans – people who are religious and no longer identify as members of communities. Republicans are getting less religious, but they seem to be voting well for candidates who woo Christian law. And the people who leave Christianity are usually not primarily members of conservative evangelical churches.

So what else is going on? Well, nations with relatively high GDP per capita (like Germany, Japan and the UK) tend to have fair low religiosity. The US has long been an outlier: a high-income, highly religious nation. But America may always have been destined to become less religious.

Other choice bites

  • 64 percent of American adults said they agree with how President Biden is handling the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, compared with 29 percent who disagreed a Quinnipiac University poll conducted April 8-12 and published this week. (Per FiveThirtyEight average of all polls Questions about Biden’s handling of COVID-19: 63 percent approve and 31 percent disapprove.) Biden had lower grades on other topics such as economics (50 percent approve, 42 percent disapprove), arms policy (39-49), climate change (48-35) and the situation on the border (29-55).
  • About 47 percent of adults said that stress or worries about the coronavirus had a negative impact on their mental health, according to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation carried out from March 15th to March 22nd. That number was highest in July 2020 (around 53 percent) and has fallen since then. In the most recent Kaiser survey, the demographics most likely to say the virus outbreak had a negative impact on their mental health were people ages 18-29 (61 percent), mothers (58 percent), and women in general ( 55 percent).
  • Around 30 percent of adults said they were financially better off than at the beginning of the pandemic an AP-NORC poll performed from February 12th to March 3rd and released this week;; 15 percent said they are worse off and 55 percent said their financial situation has not changed significantly.
  • Forty-eight percent of Americans said they were in favor of paying off student loan debt of up to $ 50,000 for individual borrowers new Daily Kos / Civiqs survey carried out 9.-12. April. Forty-four percent opposed this idea.
  • The same daily Kos / Civiqs poll found that increasing taxes on businesses and the rich to finance an infrastructure bill – as Biden suggests – is quite popular (54 percent agree, 40 percent disagree).
  • Opinions on phasing out the filibuster have been more mixed, as some Democrats suggest. The Daily Kos / Civiqs survey found that 39 percent support the abolition of the filibuster, 14 percent want reform but not elimination, 38 percent want to keep the filibuster and 10 percent are unsure.
  • According to a new poll from Vox and Data for Progress, carried out from April 2nd to 5thMost adults support ideas related to police reform. 84 percent support the wearing of cameras by civil servants, 71 percent support the ban on chokeholds and 59 percent support the ban on no-knock warrants. At the same time, 63 percent of Americans said “most cops can be trusted,” compared with 31 percent who chose the other answer: “You can’t be too careful when dealing with cops.” And 77 percent said regular police patrols in their neighborhood would make them feel safer, compared to 14 percent who said less safe.

Biden approval

According to FiveThirtyEight’s Presidential Approval Tracker, 52.8 percent of Americans support Biden’s work as president, while 40.8 percent disagree (a net approval rating of +12 points). At this point last week, 53.2 percent of Americans approved of Biden, while 39.9 percent disagreed (a net approval rating of 13.3 points). A month ago, 53.8 percent of Americans voted for Biden, compared with 40.2 percent who disagreed.

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