Based on the data from various studies over the last few years, it appears that in the past 50 years, the American religious landscape has undergone a significant transformation, with two major trends emerging: the rise of the nones and the nons (non-denominationals). The nones, those who claim no religious affiliation, have grown from a mere 5% of the population in 1972 to a staggering 27% in 2022. Similarly, non-denominationals, or those who identify with independent, non-denominational churches, have increased from 2% to 14% in the same time frame.

These shifts represent a substantial change in the way Americans approach faith and spirituality. The nones have grown by an impressive 22 percentage points, while the non-denominationals have expanded by 12 points. Combined, these two groups now make up 41% of the American population, a remarkable rise from their initial 7% representation in 1972.

Several factors may have contributed to these trends. For the nones, the growth may be attributed to an increased emphasis on individualism and personal choice, as well as a growing skepticism towards organized religion. The rise of non-denominationals, on the other hand, may be a reflection of a desire for more flexible and less hierarchical religious communities.

This shift in religious affiliation has significant implications for American society, as it may lead to changes in the way religion is perceived, practiced, and integrated into public life. As the nones and the non-denominationals continue to grow, it will be important for Christian leaders and faith institutions to adapt and engage with these changing demographics in meaningful ways.

How have people been reacting to this development?

Here are some of them on X, Elon Musk’s free-speech social media platform:

  1. X user @HMBrough_ points out that the shift in American religious identity has gone from “neutered mainline Protestantism unifying the country” to “division between emphatic Evangelicalism and developing secularism.”

  2. @Halleran_MD highlights the importance of embracing migration from Christian nations in South and Central America, as it may help maintain Christianity as the most prevalent religion in the USA. (Why do we always try to import a fix of some kind?)

  3. @RaymondChang shares some statistics about the nones, revealing that 69% of them are under the age of fifty.

  4. @anogy argues that dishonest preachers and midwits have contributed to the rise of non-religious people.

  5. @gusselsprouts emphasizes that, while more people are becoming non-religious, most Americans are still religious, and there is simply a more even plurality.

What are your thoughts on this trend?

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Jeff Hagen
President & Founder
Hill Cities, Inc.

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