FTA: The March of the Nones Continue

From the Archives (FTA) is a category of posts previously published at The LatiNone that still have some contemporary relevance. This FTA post was originally published on September 7, 2017.

PRRI released yesterday a new ginormous poll of religious identification in the United States. At 101,000-ish cases the largest this century and its scope is so large that it is really unprecedented. Of course, I am interested in what it says about the religious nones. And I may say, many things are good news.

Take, for example, this pretty line chart tracing the growth of the nones back 40 years. Up to the 1990s, roughly 1-in-10 Americans were non religious. Then, by the 2000s the population started growing and was famously captured and highlighted by the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey nearly a decade ago. Back then people considered that 15 percent of Americans being non religious was a pretty big deal. In the crazy days following the release of the 2008 ARIS those of us in that team did a lot of media. My friend Ryan Cragun did an interview (I can’t recall where) predicting that the nones soon will be 25 percent of the country. I thought that was optimistic, time has proved me wrong.

Today, about one-quarter of Americans are religious nones. What does that mean for the country and its future? I don’t really know, but I will explore several questions regarding the growth of the nones in the next few posts using the PRRI report. I will explore the demographics of the nones, the politics of the nones, and likely engage with some of the pieces that have been, are being, and will be written about this report.

FTA: The March of the Nones Continue
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Immigrants among us

On Saturday I gave a talk titled “Immigration Justice for Immigrants” at the 2018 Secular Social Justice conference in Washington, DC. When the video is finally up, I’ll post it here. But, one thing that I noticed after I finished was that people were surprised about the number of immigrants in the secular cohort.

I mentioned that 13 percent of nonreligious people in the United States are immigrants, while a nearly identical percentage (12 percent) are children of immigrants (2nd generation). These numbers come from the 2014 Pew Religious Landscape Survey.

13% of nones are immigrants and 12% are children of immigrants

I added those numbers to my presentation because I actually didn’t expect that the secular community would have more immigrants and children of immigrants in their midst than evangelical Christians.

For ages, the media narrative has been that Latinos and Asian Americans are joining evangelical denominations and changing the demographic landscape of evangelicalism. Yet, only 9 percent are immigrants while 7 percent are children of immigrants.

9% of evangelicals are immigrants and 7% children of immigrants.

Next time you think issues of immigration have nothing to do with the secular community remember that about 7 million of the roughly 59 million nones in the country are immigrants. Fighting for immigrant justice is not just one remote feel-good human rights issue. We’re fighting for our own.

Immigrants among us