One in five Americans do not identify as religious, according to a new poll, representing a significant spike over the last five years.
The share of adults who do not claim a religious affiliation has jumped from 15.3 percent in 2007 to 19.6 percent in 2012, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.
The study found large increases in the number of Americans who label themselves “atheist,” “agnostic” and “nothing in particular.” The percentage that identifies as Christian has fallen by 5 percent since 2007 while the fraction that claims other faiths rose by 2 percent.
The turn away from religion has been driven by younger people Pew found — a finding that’s consistent with other studies. The Pew poll, conducted between January and July of 2012, found that 32 percent of Americans aged 18-29 aren’t religious; that’s compared to 21 percent of people aged 30-49, 15 percent of people aged 50-64 and 9 percent of people 65 and above.
Two percent of Americans maintain that they don’t know what their religious affiliation is.
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.