Whenever we see research about religion in America, atheists and agnostics tend to be lumps into a broader category called “Nones” or “Unaffiliated”… which sounds fine, until you realize that the group also includes people who believe in God but just don’t claim a religious label.
Tobin Grant at Religion News Service has been analyzing the non-religious segment of the Nones and gives us some very useful insights:
- Atheists and agnostics make up less than a third of all Nones:
- Women are more likely than men to call themselves “spiritual but not religious”:
- The more education you have, the more likely you are to refer to yourself as atheist or agnostic:
If anything, this just shows how confusing that term “Unaffiliated” is. There’s too much diversity within that umbrella term to really extract meaningful information in religion-related research. We’d be better off separating those who are spiritual, from those who use no label, and from those who are explicitly non-religious. Even if the raw numbers are smaller, lumping us all together only makes things more confusing.