American Religious Identification Survey

Paul Harvey

The ongoing ARIS (American Religious Identification Survey) project has just released its latest numbers -- a brief summary story and graphics are here. There are some obvious limitations about surveys such as these, but generally they provide some interesting data for discussion. The biggest news on this one: the rise of the "nones," i.e. no religion -- up to 15%, from a starting point of 8% in the original 1990 survey, and now almost equal with Baptists and just a little under Catholics as the top group in the survey -- more on them here. Generally, almost all denominations have lost ground, according to the survey; the relative decline of non-Catholic Christian groups is graphed here, while the growth of respondents answering "no religion" is graphed here. Other researchers are attempting to tabulate the growth of Islam, which they feel is undercounted in these surveys. Overall, the friendly atheists are happy! Perhaps Obama's deliberate inclusion in his addresses of "those with no faith" and like phrases will appear more frequently in political discourse.


John G. Turner said…
I haven't taken a close look at the data yet, but reading about the report, it does seem that the social acceptance (or even "chicness" of being religionless) probably has a lot to do with the increased # reporting "no religion."

Also, one news article I read about the survey suggested that evangelicalism continues to be extremely vital (and possibly driving some Americans into the "no religion" camp), whereas mainline Protestantism continues its slow decline. So are we basically seeing mainline Protestants drift into the "nothing" category?
Anonymous said…
Why is Delaware considered the South in this study???
David R. Force said…
I wondered the same thing, Edward. There were several of those in there. DC was in the South too. There is a guy who did an analysis of the findings "on this blog."

It seems fair. He points out an answer to John's statement. I haven't read the whole survey thoroughly yet, myself.
pacho said…
It seems that Americans who reported themselves as without religion could be into acknowledging God but doing so without any adherence to any religion.


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