Has the ‘Rise of the Nones’ Finally Started to Plateau?

A new Gallup poll out today shows that the growth of the “Nones” — atheists, agnostics, and a whole lot of people who believe in God but don’t use a religious label — only increased slightly between 2011 and 2012:

Across the past five years, the biggest jumps in “nones” occurred between 2009 and 2010 and between 2010 and 2011 — an increase of 1.1 percentage points each between the two years. In absolute terms, 15.3% of the population had no explicit religious identity in 2009, compared with 17.5% in 2011.

The rate of change between 2011 and 2012, however, slowed to a 0.3-point increase — from 17.5% to 17.8%. These estimates are based on 353,492 interviews in 2011 and 353,571 interviews in 2012.

It’s a sexy headline — suggesting that religion has finally blunted our growth — but it’s only one data point and it’s far too early to tell if the “Nones” are finally leveling off.

Also interesting in the Gallup results is a breakdown of which demographics were most likely to fall under the category of “no religion”:

At the top of the list? Asians and 18-29-year-olds.

(You’re welcome, America.)

At the bottom of the list? The elderly and the GOP.

If the youngest generation surveyed is most likely to be non-religious while the oldest generation is at the other end of the spectrum, it seems like common sense to say we’ll be in pretty good shape for a while.

We’re still growing. We’re still growing among younger people, especially.

Don’t bet against the Nones just yet.

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