A new survey by the Pew Research Center shows that the number of American adults with no religious affiliation is on the rise and has reached its highest point yet, as reported by Fox News.
Pew’s new study, released on Tuesday, shows that those who identify as having no religious affiliation make up 29 percent of all American adults. The number was previously 23 percent in 2016 and 19 percent in 2011, a whole ten points lower than it is today.
In the poll’s research, “unaffiliated” includes those who consider themselves agnostic or atheist, as well as those who simply don’t know or say “nothing in particular.”
“If the unaffiliated were a religion,” said professor Elizabeth Drescher of Santa Clara University, “they’d be the largest religious group in the United States.”
However, even those who consider themselves unaffiliated still admit to having some sense of spirituality in their lives. Another poll on the matter by the Associated Press shows that up to 30 percent of those with no affiliation still feel “some connection to God or a higher power,” while another 19 percent say religion is still important to their lives in some way. As many as 60 percent say that religion played a role in their upbringing and within their families.
“There are people who do actually practice, either in a particular faith tradition that we would recognize, or in multiple faith traditions,” Drescher explained. “They’re not interested in either membership in those communities formally or in identifying as someone from that religion.”
The religion that has suffered the most from this decline is Protestantism. Ten years ago, 50 percent of American adults identified as Protestant; now that number is down to 40 percent.
Although Western Europe has witnessed a similar rise in those with no religious affiliations, the United States still remains a much more religious country than any European nation. In 2018, a Pew survey indicated that two-thirds of Americans prayed daily; in Germany and Britain, that number is just nine percent and six percent, respectively.