Atheism in the United States

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Atheist Americans
Total population

Population in the United States:
9% (de facto) (2014)[1]

3.1% (de jure) (2014)[1]
Religions

Irreligion:
(including antitheism, agnostic atheism, apatheism, casualism, counter-apologeticism, debaptism evangelical atheism, freethought/freethinker, ignosticism, implicit and explicit atheism, Marxist–Leninist atheism, negative and positive atheism, nonbeliever, nontheism, post-theism, rationalism, new/scientific atheism, secular humanism, skepticism, etc.)

Secular religions:
Buddhism
(including secular Buddhism, etc.)
Christian atheism
(including Cultural Christian (Cultural Catholic, Cultural Mormon, etc.), Lapsed Catholic, Recovering Catholic, Rice Christian, etc.)
Hinduism
(including Adevism, Charvaka, Hindu atheist, etc.)
Jewish atheism
(including Cultural Judaism, etc.)
Muslim atheism
(including Cultural Muslim, etc.)
New religious movements
(including Creativity, etc.)
Parody religions
(including Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster/Pastafarianism, Invisible Pink Unicorn, etc.)

Atheism in the United States is the fourth largest belief system, behind Christianity, nothing in particular, and agnosticism, in the United States of America.[1]

National polling[edit]

A June–September 2014 Pew Research Center survey found that 3.1% of Americans were self described atheists and 9% did not believe in a god or gods.[1]

Demographics[edit]

Age[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods among age groups in the United States (2014)
Age group % of lack of belief in god/gods Source
18-29 year old Americans 16 16
 
[1]
30-49 year old Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
[1]
50-64 year old Americans 6 6
 
[1]
65+ year old Americans 6 6
 
[1]

Education[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods among education in the United States (2014)
Generation % of lack of belief in god/gods Source
Post-graduate degree, Americans 14 14
 
[1]
College, Americans 14 14
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Some college, Americans 9 9
 
[1]
High school or less, Americans 6 6
 
[1]

Gender[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods among age genders in the United States (2014)
Gender % of lack of belief in god/gods Source
Male American 12 12
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Female American 6 6
 
[1]

Generation[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods among generations in the United States (2014)
Generation % of lack of belief in god/gods Source
Younger Millennial Americans 17 17
 
[1]
Older Millennial Americans 13 13
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Generation X Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Greatest Americans 7 7
 
[1]
Baby Boomer Americans 6 6
 
[1]
Silent Americans 6 6
 
[1]

Household income[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods among household income in the United States (2014)
Generation % of lack of belief in god/gods Source
$100,000 or more, Americans 14 14
 
[1]
$50,000-$99,999, Americans 11 11
 
[1]
$30,000-$49,999, Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Less than $30,000, Americans 7 7
 
[1]

Immigrant status[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods among immigrant status in the United States (2014)
Generation % of lack of belief in god/gods Source
Second generation Americans 14 14
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Third generation or higher Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Immigrants 8 8
 
[1]

Marital status[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods among marital status in the United States (2014)
Generation % of lack of belief in god/gods Source
Never married Americans 15 15
 
[1]
Living with a partner Americans 14 14
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Married Americans 7 7
 
[1]
Divorced/separated Americans 6 6
 
[1]
Widowed Americans 3 3
 
[1]

Metro area[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods/self described atheists among metro areas in the United States (2014)
State/federal district % of lack of belief in god/gods % of self described atheists Source
Greater San Francisco Bay Area 21 21
 
5 5
 
[1]
Seattle metropolitan area 20 20
 
10 10
 
[1]
Boston metropolitan area 17 17
 
4 4
 
[1]
Providence metropolitan area 15 15
 
4 4
 
[1]
Baltimore metropolitan area 14 14
 
3 3
 
[1]
Philadelphia metropolitan area 13 13
 
5 5
 
[1]
Tampa metropolitan area 13 13
 
4 4
 
[1]
San Diego metropolitan area 12 12
 
3 3
 
[1]
Washington metropolitan area 12 12
 
4 4
 
[1]
Greater Los Angeles Area 11 11
 
4 4
 
[1]
New York metropolitan area 11 11
 
4 4
 
[1]
Phoenix metropolitan area 11 11
 
3 3
 
[1]
Chicago metropolitan area 10 10
 
3 3
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
3.1 3.1
 
[1]
Detroit metropolitan area 9 9
 
3 3
 
[1]
Miami metropolitan area 9 9
 
3 3
 
[1]
Riverside metropolitan area 8 8
 
1 1
 
[1]
Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex 7 7
 
1 1
 
[1]
Atlanta metropolitan area 6 6
 
3 3
 
[1]
Houston metropolitan area 6 6
 
2 2
 
[1]
St. Louis metropolitan area 6 6
 
3 3
 
[1]
Pittsburgh metropolitan area 5 5
 
3 3
 
[1]

Political affiliation[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods among political affiliation in the United States (2014)
Racial group % of lack of belief in god/gods Source
Democrat/Lean Democrat Americans 13 13
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
[1]
No lean, Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Republican/Lean Republican Americans 5 5
 
[1]

Parental status[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods among parental status in the United States (2014)
Racial group % of lack of belief in god/gods Source
Non-parents of children under 18 year old Americans 10 10
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Parents of children under 18 year old Americans 7 7
 
[1]

Political ideology[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods among political ideology in the United States (2014)
Racial group % of lack of belief in god/gods Source
Liberal Americans 19 19
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Moderate Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Don't know, Americans 8 8
 
[1]
Conservative Americans 3 3
 
[1]

Race[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods among racial groups in the United States (2014)
Racial group % of lack of belief in god/gods Source
Asian Americans 19 19
 
[1]
White Americans 11 11
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Other/Mixed Americans 8 8
 
[1]
Latino Americans 6 6
 
[1]
African Americans 2 2
 
[1]

Region[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods/self described atheists among regions in the United States (2014)
State/federal district % of lack of belief in god/gods % of self described atheists Source
Northeastern United States 12 12
 
4 4
 
[1]
Western United States 12 12
 
4 4
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
3.1 3.1
 
[1]
Midwestern United States 8 8
 
3 3
 
[1]
Southern United States 7 7
 
2 2
 
[1]

Religion[edit]

Lack of belief in god/gods among religious/belief groups in the United States (2014)
Religious group % of lack of belief in god/gods Source
Atheist Americans 92 92
 
[1]
Agnostic Americans 41 41
 
[1]
Nothing in particular (religion not important), Americans 33 33
 
[1]
Unaffiliated Americans 33 33
 
[1]
Buddhist Americans 27 27
 
[1]
New Age movement, Americans 21 21
 
[1]
Nothing in particular, Americans 20 20
 
[1]
Unitarians and other liberal faiths in "other faiths", Americans 19 19
 
[1]
Jewish Americans 17 17
 
[1]
Hindu Americans 10 10
 
[1]
Americans 9 9
 
[1]
Episcopalian (Mainline Protestant) Americans 4 4
 
[1]
Anglican Church, Americans 3 3
 
[1]
Episcopal Church, Americans 3 3
 
[1]
Nothing in particular (religion important), Americans 3 3
 
[1]
Eastern Orthodox Americans 3 3
 
[1]
Lutheran (Mainline Protestant) Americans 2 2
 
[1]
Mainline Protestant Americans 2 2
 
[1]
Nondenominational (Mainline Protestant) Americans 2 2
 
[1]
Roman Catholic Americans 2 2
 
[1]
Baptist (Mainline Protestant) Americans 1 1
 
[1]
Christian Americans 1 1
 
[1]
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Americans 1 1
 
[1]
Muslim Americans 1 1
 
[1]
Pentecostal (Evangelical Protestant) Americans 1 1
 
[1]
Presbyterian (Evangelical Protestant) Americans 1 1
 
[1]
Presbyterian (Mainline Protestant) Americans 1 1
 
[1]
Presbyterian Church in America, Americans 1 1
 
[1]
Presbyterian Church, Americans 1 1
 
[1]
United Church of Christ, Americans 1 1
 
[1]
United Methodist Church, Americans 1 1
 
[1]
Adventist (Evangelical Protestant) Americans <1 [1]
African Methodist Episcopal Church, Americans <1 [1]
American Baptist Churches, Americans <1 [1]
Assemblies of God, Americans <1 [1]
Baptist (Evangelical Protestant) Americans <1 [1]
Baptist (Historically Black Protestant) Americans <1 [1]
Church of God, Americans <1 [1]
Church of God in Christ, Americans <1 [1]
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Americans <1 [1]
Church of the Nazarene, Americans <1 [1]
Churches of Christ, Americans <1 [1]
Evangelical Protestant Americans <1 [1]
Historically Black Protestant, Americans <1 [1]
Holiness (Evangelical Protestant), Americans <1 [1]
Independent Baptist (Evangelical Protestant) Americans <1 [1]
Interdenominational (Evangelical Protestant) Americans <1 [1]
Interdenominational (Mainline Protestant) Americans <1 [1]
Jehovah's Witness, Americans <1 [1]
Lutheran (Evangelical Protestant) Americans <1 [1]
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Americans <1 [1]
Methodist (Historically Black Protestant) Americans <1 [1]
Mormon Americans <1 [1]
National Baptist Convention, Americans <1 [1]
Nondenominational (Evangelical Protestant) Americans <1 [1]
Nondenominational (Historically Black Protestant) Americans <1 [1]
Nondenominational charismatic Americans <1 [1]
Nondenominational evangelical Americans <1 [1]
Nondenominational fundamentalist Americans <1 [1]
Pentecostal (Historically Black Protestant) Americans <1 [1]
Restorationist (Evangelical Protestant) Americans <1 [1]
Seventh-day Adventist Americans <1 [1]
Southern Baptist Convention, Americans <1 [1]

Sexual orientation[edit]

Self described atheists among sexual orientations in the United States (2014)
Sexual orientation % of self described atheists Source
LGB Americans 8 8
 
[1]
Americans 3.1 3.1
 
[1]
Straight Americans 3 3
 
[1]

State/federal district[edit]

Disbelief in god/gods in the United States by state/territory in 2014
  Disbelief in god/gods—20-30%
  Disbelief in god/gods—10-20%
  Disbelief in god/gods—<10%
Lack of belief in god/gods/self described atheists among states/local district in the United States (2014)
State/federal district % of lack of belief in god/gods % of self described atheists Source
 Vermont 21 21
 
7 7
 
[1]
 Massachusetts 18 18
 
5 5
 
[1]
 Maine 16 16
 
2 2
 
[1]
 New Hampshire 16 16
 
6 6
 
[1]
 District of Columbia 14 14
 
4 4
 
[1]
 Oregon 13 13
 
5 5
 
[1]
 Washington 13 13
 
5 5
 
[1]
 Alaska 12 12
 
5 5
 
[1]
 California 12 12
 
4 4
 
[1]
 Nevada 12 12
 
5 5
 
[1]
 Wisconsin 12 12
 
3 3
 
[1]
 New York 11 11
 
5 5
 
[1]
 Idaho 11 11
 
2 2
 
[1]
 New Mexico 11 11
 
3 3
 
[1]
 Rhode Island 11 11
 
4 4
 
[1]
 Arizona 10 10
 
3 3
 
[1]
 Colorado 10 10
 
4 4
 
[1]
 Florida 10 10
 
3 3
 
[1]
 Indiana 10 10
 
3 3
 
[1]
 Maryland 10 10
 
3 3
 
[1]
 Pennsylvania 10 10
 
3 3
 
[1]
 Hawaii 9 9
 
2 2
 
[1]
 Illinois 9 9
 
3 3
 
[1]
 Iowa 9 9
 
4 4
 
[1]
 Michigan 9 9
 
3 3
 
[1]
 Minnesota 9 9
 
3 3
 
[1]
 Nebraska 9 9
 
1 1
 
[1]
 United States 9 9
 
3.1 3.1
 
[1]
 Montana 8 8
 
4 4
 
[1]
 New Jersey 8 8
 
2 2
 
[1]
  North Dakota 8 8
 
2 2
 
[1]
 Utah 8 8
 
3 3
 
[1]
 Virginia 8 8
 
2 2
 
[1]
 Kentucky 7 7
 
4 4
 
[1]
 Delaware 7 7
 
2 2
 
[1]
 Iowa 7 7
 
4 4
 
[1]
 Kansas 7 7
 
2 2
 
[1]
 North Carolina 7 7
 
2 2
 
[1]
 Ohio 7 7
 
2 2
 
[1]
 South Dakota 7 7
 
3 3
 
[1]
 Georgia 6 6
 
2 2
 
[1]
 Louisiana 6 6
 
2 2
 
[1]
 Missouri 6 6
 
2 2
 
[1]
 Texas 6 6
 
2 2
 
[1]
 Wyoming 6 6
 
3 3
 
[1]
 South Carolina 5 5
 
1 1
 
[1]
 West Virginia 5 5
 
1 1
 
[1]
 Arkansas 4 4
 
2 2
 
[1]
 Mississippi 4 4
 
1 1
 
[1]
 Tennessee 3 3
 
1 1
 
[1]
 Alabama 2 2
 
1 1
 
[1]

Public officials[edit]

Federal officials[edit]

United States Representatives[edit]

Arizona
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Kyrsten Sinema Kyrsten Sinema Arizona 1st United States Arizona Representative of the 9th district Democratic 2013–present [2]
California
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Pete Stark Pete Stark California 9th United States California Representative of the 8th district Democratic 1973–1975 [3]
Pete Stark Pete Stark California 11th United States California Representative of the 9th district Democratic 1975–1993 [3]
Pete Stark Pete Stark California 9th United States California Representative of the 13th district Democratic 1993–2013 [3]
Massachusetts
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Barney Frank Barney Frank Massachusetts 39th United States Maine Representative of the 4th district Democratic 1981–2013 [4]

United States Senators[edit]

Oklahoma
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Thomas Gore Thomas Gore Oklahoma 1st Class 3 United States Senator of Oklahoma Democratic 1907–1921 [5]
Thomas Gore Thomas Gore Oklahoma 3rd Class 2 United States Senator of Oklahoma Democratic 1931–1937 [5]

State officials[edit]

State governors[edit]
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Culbert Olson California 29th Governor of California Democratic 1939–1943 [6]
Minnesota
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Jesse Ventura Jesse Ventura Minnesota 38th Governor of Minnesota Reform
(1998-2000)
Independence
(2000-2003)
1999–2003 [7]
State legislators[edit]
Nebraska
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Ernie Chambers Nebraska 11th district Nebraska legislator Independent 1971–2009
2013–present
[8]
State representatives[edit]
Arizona
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Kyrsten Sinema Kyrsten Sinema Arizona 15th district Arizona State Representative Democratic 2005–2011 [2]
Maine
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Sean Faircloth Sean Faircloth Maine 17th / 117th district Maine Representative Democratic 1992–1994
2002–2008
Massachusetts
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Barney Frank Barney Frank Massachusetts 5th Suffolk district Massachusetts State Representative Democratic 1973–1979 [4]
Barney Frank Barney Frank Massachusetts 8th Suffolk district Massachusetts State Representative Democratic 1979–1981 [4]
State senators[edit]
Arizona
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Kyrsten Sinema Kyrsten Sinema Arizona 15th district Arizona State Senator Democratic 2011–2012 [2]
California
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Culbert Olson Utah California State Senator Democratic 1934–1938 [6]
Maine
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Sean Faircloth Sean Faircloth Maine 9th district Maine Senator Democratic 1994–1996
Nevada
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Lori Lipman Brown Lori Lipman Brown Nevada Nevada State Senator Democratic 1992–1994 [9]
Utah
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Culbert Olson Utah Utah State Senator Democratic 1916–1920 [6]
Local officials[edit]
Mayors[edit]
Minnesota
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Jesse Ventura Jesse Ventura Minnesota Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota Independent 1991–1995 [7]
Utah
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Rocky Anderson Rocky Anderson Utah 33rd Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah Democratic 2000–2008 [10]
Chairperson of the City Council[edit]
Maine
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Sean Faircloth Sean Faircloth Maine Chairperson of the City Council of Bangor, Maine Democratic 2016–present
City councilors[edit]
North Carolina
Photo Name State Position Party Term Source
Cecil Bothwell Cecil Bothwell North Carolina City councilor of Asheville, North Carolina Democratic 2009–present

Political views[edit]

A June–September 2014 Pew Research Center survey found that 69% of atheist Americans identity as Democratic or lean Democratic, 17% have no lean, 15% identity as Republican, 56% liberal, 29% moderate, 10% conservative, and 5% don't know. Among Americans who don't believe in god/gods, 65% identity as Democratic or lean Democratic, 17% have no lean, 18% identity as Republican, 50% liberal, 31% moderate, 13% conservative, and 6% don't know. That makes atheist and nonbelievers in god/gods Americans as belief groups to be the most politically liberal belief group in America and the least politically aligned belief group with Republicans and conservatism in the United States.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee ef eg eh ei ej ek el em en eo ep eq er es et eu ev ew ex ey ez fa fb fc fd fe ff fg fh fi fj fk fl fm fn fo fp fq fr fs ft fu fv fw fx fy fz ga gb gc gd ge gf gg gh gi gj gk gl gm gn go gp gq gr gs gt Religious Landscape Study
  2. ^ a b c Kimberly Winston (2012-11-08). "Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona Democrat, To Replace Pete Stark As Sole Atheist In Congress". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  3. ^ a b c Stark called himself "a Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being" and has been identified as an atheist. Rep. Stark applauded for atheist outlook: Believed to be first congressman to declare nontheism, Associated Press, March 13, 2007 (Accessed June 15, 2007)
  4. ^ a b c Wong, Curtis (2013-08-09). "Barney Frank's 'Pot-Smoking Atheist' Revelation Discussed On 'The Rubin Report'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  5. ^ a b "Real Time with Bill Maher Episode #149 April 10, 2009". www.veoh.com. 
  6. ^ a b c The Hon. Atheist Governor: Culbert L. Olson
  7. ^ a b "Jesse Ventura". NNDB.com. Retrieved 25 April 2012. Formerly a Lutheran, Ventura generally considers himself an atheist. 
  8. ^ Hammel, Paul. "Ernie Chambers targets 'so help me God' in oaths". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  9. ^ ""You can be elected as an openly gay politician in this country, but you can't be elected as an openly atheistic one", said Lori Lipman Brown, who was hired last fall to be the Washington, D.C., lobbyist for an organization devoted to atheist causes, the Secular Coalition for America. She's believed to be the first paid lobbyist for the unbelievers in the nation's capital, the front lines of the culture wars. Now, all Brown is seeking is a constituency willing to go public. "Think of where the LGBT movement was 25 years ago", said Brown, who has worked on gay and lesbian rights issues as a legislator and attorney. "That's where atheists are today." […] Brown, who is married and was raised a "humanistic Jew", talks about how she "came out" as an atheist several years ago, and how most atheists aren't "out yet" at work. She says atheist kids—like many gay children—are made to feel outcasts at school, and explains that she wants to erase the negative connotation to the word "atheist" just as homosexuals have reclaimed slurs like "queer" and "dyke."" Joe Garofoli, 'Atheists hoping to assert rights in religious era', San Francisco Chronicle, February 20, 2006 (accessed June 16, 2008).
  10. ^ voterocky.org