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'No Religion' Receives Most Votes in America's Religious Identity Survey

'No Religion' Receives Most Votes in America's Religious Identity Survey

In a new survey looking at Americans’ religious identity, “No Religion” earned the most survey votes.

The analysis of the General Social Survey from Ryan Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University and a Baptist pastor, found that 23.1 percent of Americans claim no religious affiliation.

23 percent of survey participants identified as Catholic and 22.5 percent said they were evangelicals. According to CNN Some 2,000 people were interviewed as part of the survey.

"It is the first time we have seen this. The same questions have been asked for 44 years," Burge told CNN.

The Washington Post reports that in 1972, only 5 percent of survey takers did not assign themselves a religion and since 1991, the number of people saying they do not have a religion has grown by 266 percent.

“Religious nones,” or people who do not claim a religious affiliation, are defined as people who are atheists, agnostics and or “spiritual.”

Burge says he estimates that in four to five years, religious nones will make up the largest group outright among Americans.

There are a few reasons why religious nones may be a growing group, according to experts.

Nick Fish, the president of American Atheists, said the Internet could be changing things for people.

"The ease of access to the internet helped build communities where they didn't feel alone," he says.

Meanwhile, Robyn Blumner, executive director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, says another reason may be that more and more millennials are questioning traditional beliefs.

She said, "We are seeing the rise of a generation of Americans who are hungry for facts and curious about the world.”

Photo courtesy: James L.W./Unsplash