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Canada and America, and Religious Trajectories


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Personal)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/06/06

Those without formal religious affiliation in Canada may have an easier time than those who identify as such in the United States based on the report entitled “None of the Above: Having No Religion in Canada and the U.S.”

Professor of Sociology at the University of Waterloo, Sarah Wilkins-Laflamme, and Professor of Sociology at Ambrose University, Joel Thiessen, reported on the research.

“Canadians are more inclined to say they are not affiliated to any religion. The country harbors a more accepting environment when it comes to exiting religion. The social stigma of leaving a belief system is much less,” the reportage stated.

Within the research, most of the data sets come from the United States, which can skew the research into this population of the secular. The bigger difference, according to Wilkins-Laflamme and Thiessen, is the earlier decline in the level of religiosity in Canadian society compared to American culture.

“Only four percent of Canadians claimed to have no religious affiliation in 1971. This number went up to 12 percent in 1991 and 17 percent in 2001. In the United States, the number of nones began to increase only later in 1972. It was five percent in that year and jumped to eight percent in 1990. In 2000, 14 percent of the U.S. population identified themselves as nones,” the article stated.

The religiously unaffiliated gained more rapid traction in Canada and, thus, were see earlier in Canadian culture compared to the U.S. Indeed, the U.S. saw a rise in the number of self-identified evangelicals within their civilization at the time of the decline in the religious in Canada.

In other words, the countries went, in part, on opposing religious-secular trajectories — more secular for Canada and more religious for America in some ways.

“Blended with a strong sense of Americans thinking of their nation as a Christian nation made it harder for nones Americans to come out. The researchers noted some parts of the United States continue to stigmatize people identifying themselves as nones,” the reportage said, “Since religion plays an insignificant role in the public life of Canada, the people of that country do not consider themselves to be living in a Christian nation.”


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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