If you’ve often wondered how I retain my high level of sanity as well as my lovely complexion, puzzle no more: I live in the third least religious state in the country. Plus, I’d have to drive a day or two to get to an area where a majority of people consider themselves “very religious.” (Admittedly, this cheers me like beer cheers a barfly.)
How do I know? By looking at the latest Gallup numbers, released yesterday.
Respondents were classified as “very religious” if they said that religion is “an important part of their daily lives” and that they go to religious services “every week or almost every week.”
After polling almost 175,000 Americans over a 12-month span, Gallup concludes that nationally,
More than four in 10 Americans nationwide (41%) fit this classification in 2013. Twenty-nine percent of Americans were nonreligious, saying religion is not an important part of their daily lives and that they seldom or never attend religious services. The remaining 29 percent were moderately religious, saying religion is important in their lives but that they do not attend services regularly, or that religion is not important but that they still attend services.
The number for the “nonreligious” is a bit anomalous. It had been climbing slowly since 2009, but 2013 supposedly saw a 1.7% drop compared to 2012. Not exactly an eye-popping change, but a fact that, if true, does go against a well-established trend.
Gallup says the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level.
Statisticians among our readers are invited to chime in. The rest of youse, feel free to hazard a guess about what the percentage of the U.S. nonreligious population will be in 2020, 2050, and 2100. In 86 years, with any luck, you’ll have earned serious bragging rights.