(Note: All statistics and facts are from the Pew Research Center unless otherwise indicated.)
The breakthrough Pew Research Center report, America’s Changing Religious Landscape, published in 2015 revealed the irreversible trajectory of the None phenomenon. The religiously unaffiliated are called “Nones” because they check the “none” box when asked to identify themselves.
Currently, Nones account for 29% of the American population and are the largest “religious” group in our country with the exception of evangelical Christians who lead by a very narrow margin. However, Nones will quickly outnumber evangelicals according to polling data that shows evangelicals slowly decreasing and Nones aggressively increasing in numbers. (Recent data from a General Social Survey indicate that Nones have already surpassed Evangelicals by a razor-thin margin.)
An additional 43%of Americans fall into a “somewhat religious” or “diversely devout” category, in which they have fluid spiritual boundaries and are open to new ideas. In totality, the trend of the United States becoming starkly less-religious is undeniable.
Generationally, the groundswell of Nones begins with Gen X and incrementally expands through the Millennials and Generation Z. Overwhelmingly, Nones are white and live in the greatest concentration in the Northeastern and Western United States. Male Nones only slightly outnumber female Nones. Nones also heavily skew Democratic versus Republican.
It is also worth noting that Generation Z will play a critical role in the formation of Nones as a known market share. Born between the mid-1990s and the 2010s, Gen Z are digital natives and are comfortable with an interconnected awareness of reality. They boldly embrace fluid identities, collaborative thinking, and radical inclusivity. Called the “True Gen” by market research group McKinsey & Co., they are “dialoguers” and “realistic,” placing primacy on unveiling truth behind multiple points of view and expressions. All of those values circulate strongly in the None ethos.
Rachel Roberts is the founder of American None. Every now and then she's known to have a deep thought, usually in the most random places– like shopping for IPA and gummy bears.