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The Nones on the Rise in Many Places


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Atheist Republic (News)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): n.d.

Baptist Global News spoke on the rise of the Nones, not only in the US but around the world.

They reported that the renunciation of religion does not necessarily limit itself, as a phenomenon, to North America and Western Europe. In particular, the young adult groups throughout the world have begun to give up their faith in the efficacy and veracity of religion.

The Pew Research Center data is cited in the report. In general, the Nones are on the rise around the world. The leaders of most traditions are struggling with a decline in affiliations and memberships in their respective religions.

“In a June 13 study titled ‘The Age Gap in Religion Around the World,’ Pew found that young adults globally tend to be less religious than older people, and that ‘the opposite is rarely true,’” the article reported. “The expansive report delves into a range of factors that predict religiosity. Those include income levels, lifespan, geographic region and social standing.”

It remains a complex phenomenon, but it shows a clear a trend in the reduction of religiosity over time around the world and not in the United States alone. One issue noted for the American religious leaders is the disjunction between the old and the young.

The old tend to adhere to a religious faith. The young tend to reject faith. Then the average age for the religious tend to go higher and higher, but the mean age for the Nones remains lower than the average age for the religious.

Not only in self-identification, the young tend not to practice their faith as fully as the older generations even if they do identify with a religious belief system.

The Pew report stated, “But this is not solely an American phenomenon … Lower religious observance among younger adults is common around the world.”

While there is that split between the generations, it does depend on the country with some countries showing bigger or smaller gaps than others. Some with the adults who are 40-years-old or younger view religion as less important or are “less inclined to view religion as ‘very important.’”

That data arises in Canada, Iran, Nigeria, and Switzerland. Exceptions to that rule exist too.

“While this pattern is widespread, it is not universal … In many countries, there is no statistically significant difference in levels of religious observance between younger and older adults,” Pew explained, “In the places where there is a difference, however, it is almost always in the direction of younger adults being less religious than their elders.”

About 41 countries have 18-to-39-year-olds who feel less attached to religion.

Pew identified 41 nations where people 18 to 39 years old “are significantly less likely than their elders to have a religious affiliation.” These include Canada, Mexico, much of South America, and the United States of America.

The young do not pray as much. Only Chad and Liberia showed that the young adults prayer two times per day. In 53 out of 102 nations, the under 40s are much less likely to go to a weekly religious service than the over 40s. 

However, Armenia, Liberia, and Rwanda were exceptions to that trend in in attendance at weekly services.

The article said, “The gaps between generations are small in many countries. The overall average is 5 percentage points for affiliation, 6 percentage points for worship attendance and 9 percentage points for prayer.”

The US is one of a number of countries where the differences remain larger. Finally, there is a gulf of a minimum of 10% between the old and the young who identify with a religious group, mostly Christian populations, in the Americas and Europe.


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


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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