The Rise of the Nones!

Religious Adherents by County 2010

Religious Adherents by County 2010

You may not have heard of the “Nones” yet, but you will. They are a rapidly growing group in the U.S. who claim no religious preference or no religion at all. They include Atheists and Agnostics but the majority are simply those who declare they have no religion or religious affiliation. Only 8 % of the U.S. adult population in 1990, their numbers have risen steadily since to now total 20%, 46 million Americans: a flat 1 out of every 5 adults and a startling 1 of every 3 adults under the age of 30, according to a new 80 page study released yesterday (and yes I read it all!) (Oct 9, 2012) by the Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life.[i]

none chart

There are “Nones” everywhere in the Northwest especially. So many in fact, that a few years ago the Northwest was termed “The None Zone” because there are more “Nones” located here than any other region of the United States.  In fact, “by comparison, there are twice as many “Nones” in the Northwest than there are in the Bible Belt.” [ii]

Here are a few interesting facts about the Northwest according to the most comprehensive study of its kind released in May 2012 by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB), the “2010 U.S. Religious Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study (RCMS), gives county by county details on congregations, members, adherents and attendance for 236 different faiths groups.[iii]

  • Oregon & Washington were ranked as #44 & #45 least religious states overall.[iv]
  • Of U.S. Metro areas with over 1 million people, Portland was ranked dead last in lowest % of religious adherents, with Seattle was ranked 3rd to the bottom, with LESS religious adherents than Las Vegas, Nevada.[v]
  • In fact, out of 942 Metropolitan areas, WA & OR accounted for nearly 1/3 of the top 5% least churched metro areas in the U.S., with Oak Harbor, WA ranking 10th lowest % of religious adherents. My town of Bellingham was ranked 54th lowest. (888:942)[vi]

Preachers and pundits will be trying to determine what all this new data means, but even a cursory glance paints a picture of the Northwest as one of the most unchurched regions of the country, along with the Northeast. Researchers expect this slide towards secularization to continue as the US follows the decline of the church in Australia, Europe and Canada.

And while I may not have much hope that we can stop the slide, I do believe that what we do is making a difference, one teenager at a time. It certainly made a difference for the 500 teenagers who made a decision for Christ last year through Youth Dynamics.

Thank you for supporting the missionaries of Youth Dynamics. No question there is need for the Gospel overseas, but this is our Jerusalem, our Judea; and we are glad to be waging war here in the States for the souls of America’s teenagers. Together we are making a difference.


The NW has lots of Nones.

“Rise of the Nones!”


About markmoder

One Response to The Rise of the Nones!

  1. Pingback: Seattle & Portland are less Religious than Vegas. The None Zone – Infographic «

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