Stillwater News Press

Our World

October 22, 2012

Obama has the Ohio atheist vote. Will it grow?

President Barack Obama's multiple references to Planned Parenthood in the second presidential debate showed how keen he is to sway female voters in swing states.

He may have emboldened another demographic in the process, without making an overt appeal. I'm talking about secular Americans. Compared with their religious peers, this bloc of Americans is much more inclined to support women's rights and gender equality. And the number of nonbelieving Americans is rapidly increasing.

A study released last week by the Pew Research Center provides evidence of what many sociologists have observed: The proportion of Americans who say "none" when asked their religion is the highest recorded in such surveys.

The numbers are striking. In 1990, only 8 percent of Americans claimed to have no religion. Today, about 20 percent claim as much. More than one-third of American adults younger than 30 are now religiously unaffiliated, which means that among 20-somethings, secular Americans far outnumber evangelical Christians — a big shift from 25 years ago.

The overwhelming majority of "nones" are content with their lack of religious involvement; 88 percent say they aren't interested in or looking for a religion that might be right for them.

Most religiously unaffiliated Americans aren't atheists or agnostics in orientation, yet a sizable proportion are — somewhere from one-third to one-half. Thus, the rise of the "nones" simultaneously indicates an increase in atheism and agnosticism in America.

There are several noteworthy demographic patterns. Men are more likely to be secular than women, on average. Asian- Americans, Jews and non-Hispanic whites exhibit higher rates of nonbelief than Hispanic and black Americans. The nonreligious are most highly concentrated in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest — Portland, Ore., was recently designated the "least Christian" city in the United States by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Our World
Must Read
Buy & Share Photos
NewsPress e-Edition
NewsPress Specials
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Stocks
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show'