Data has been released from a poll taken across the globe that shows religiosity in the United States is declining and atheism is rising. “The global Index of Religiosity and Atheism” discovered that 60 percent of Americans claim they are religious. This number is a decrease from the 73 percent who said they were religious the last time the poll was taken, which was in 2005. During the same period, atheism amongst Americans increased to five percent from one percent.
WIN-Gallup International conducted the poll, interviewing 50,000 people spread across 57 countries and five continents. Those surveyed in the poll were asked the following question: “Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person, or a convinced atheist?”
“The obvious implication is that this is a manifestation of the New Atheism movement,” said Ryan Cragun. Cragun works at University of Tampa as a sociologist of religion. “For a very long time, religiosity has been a central characteristic of the American identity. But what this suggests is that is changing and people are feeling less inclined to identify as religious to comply with what it means to be a good person in the U.S.”
Another survey, from 2008, American Religious Identification Survey, discovered that 15 percent of Americans claim that they have no religion at all. That number is an increase of eight percent from 1990. The investigator for the American Religious Identification Survey, Barry Kosmin, said, “The U.S. trends are what we have found and would expect, but the actual numbers are peculiar to say the least. The drops in religiosity seem too sharp for the time period — people just don’t change their beliefs that quickly. Most of the trend away from religion has demographic causes and demography moves ‘glacially.”
Kosmin also makes note of Vietnam in the new survey, “Eight million Communist Party members but zero atheists? That statistic makes me very doubtful of the accuracy of the survey overall and some of the international comparisons.”
The survey also showed that the greatest change in religiosity, separate from Vietnam, is that of Ireland. The drop went to 47 percent from 69 percent. The study found that the country with the most ‘convinced atheists’ is that of China, with 47 percent. The poll found that the most religious countries are in South America (Brazil and Peru), Africa (Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya) and Eastern Europe (Macedonia, Romania and Armenia). Let us know your thoughts on the new poll in our comments section below.