Sharp increase in “nones”

The American Values Survey Question Database  from the Pew Research Centre suggests that with the new century we may be seeing a marked change in the beliefs of Americans.

On the statement “I never doubt the existence of God” the number of people who disagree jumped from 10% in 2000 to 18% in 212. That is after being constant for the previous 15 years (see figure below).


But the data is even more dramatic when broken down into age groups. The numbers disagreeing have increased in all age groups, but the increase is most marked for the younger ages. The increase for the 18-29 years group was about 100% (from 18% in 2000 to 31% in 2012). And most of this increase occurred since 2005.

Perhaps those horrible Gnus have been having an effect after all.

The data for New Zealand is not so detailed. However, the figure below shows data from the last 3 census results – 1996, 2001, 2006. Here we see what appears to be a steady increase in those choosing “no religion” on the census form in all age groups. Again the effect is larger for the younger groups. About 45% of people below 40 years old now have no religion.

Last year’s census was delayed because of the Christchurch earthquakes. But I suspect we are going to see some barriers broken in the results it produces.

See also: Belief In God Plummets Among Youth (CHART) for US data presented in terms of “generations.”

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5 responses to “Sharp increase in “nones”

  1. …suggests that with the new century …

    I’m sorry Ken but I am going to have to pull you up on this one.
    We are now in 2012 so the century is hardly “new” is it?

    Technically speaking, this is the 11th year of the 21st Century since the new century began on Jan 1st 2001, as defined in by the Gregorian calendar which is based on a Year 1 AD which immediately followed 1BC.

    Therefore, by definition we are in the 11th year of the 21st Century and also the 3rd Millennium.

    If I was to sell you an 11 year old car and claim it was new, then you’d be justified in complaining to the authorities.

    So please don’t claim that the new century is new.

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  2. I’ve been noticing this same trend with the young for quite some time – since the early 90s, anyway. I attribute it to connectivity with the internet… where religions come to die and where bad ideas can be exposed and criticisms of them seen based on merit of their content. I see this trend not just continuing but, I think, reaching a tipping point in this half of this century.

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  3. Yes I agree that the internet has a lot to do with the moral decay of our society.

    It has also resulted in a dumbed-down population that cannot even construct a meaningful sentence or count from 1 to 2000.

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  4. Two things kill religion:
    The first is to actually read the holy books for yourself rather than have selected quotes cherry-picked for you by someone else.

    The second thing is the Internet.

    The Internet: Where religions come to die

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  5. Pingback: Australian census confirms healthy trend | Open Parachute

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