Almost One-Third of US Adults Claim No Religious Affiliation, A 25% Increase Since 2016

CC0 / AnnaPannaAnna / Christian cross
Christian cross - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.12.2021
A recent poll found the number of nonreligious Americans is rapidly increasing in recent years. The pandemic-era trend is a reversal of the prevailing logic surrounding calamities and faith.
According to a survey conducted between May 29 and August 5, the results of which were published earlier this month by Pew Research Center, 29% of US adults claim no religious affiliation. That’s an increase of 6 percentage points since 2016 and an effective doubling since 2007, when just 16% of Americans said they were nonreligious.
Another prominent trend identified by the data is that fewer than half of Americans - just 45% - say they pray every day, and 32% say they seldom pray, if ever.
Another poll, conducted by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, found in-person attendance at houses of worship had declined by 12% over the past 18 months. While many went online during COVID-19-related lockdowns, when they restarted services, fewer people were showing up than before.
People are leaving religion for a variety of reasons, including a disconnect between modern political sensibilities and dogmatic views on women, race, or LGBTQ rights, or simply a desire to escape the confines of tradition and social hierarchy.
“The pandemic showed us that people don’t like isolation,” New Age spiritualist Deepak Chopra told CNBC. “[In] the absence of that human need for love, compassion, joy, sharing, attention, affection, appreciation, gratitude, ... people panicked.”
Chopra said that while numbers of religious people are falling, Americans still have a deep hunger for spiritual experiences and communities.
“The spiritual experience will never go away,” he said. “The need to find meaning and purpose in our existence will never go away. The need to resolve what is inevitable suffering will never go away.”
However, at the same time, four in ten US adults consider religion to be “very important” in their lives, and houses of worship from all faiths are still welcoming new members.
Another poll conducted by Pew at the start of the year, which was roughly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, found that the global health crisis had strengthened many people’s faith. However, 68% of US adults still said their own faith hadn’t changed that much during the pandemic.
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