published on May 10, 2017
James R. Lewis, Margrethe Løøv, Bernard Doherty
Same Trajectory, Different Prospects
Anglophone Census Data and the Future of the Irreligious and the ‘Nones’
Census data from Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom make clear that the irreligious as well as those who indicate No Religion (‘Nones’) in censuses are growing rapidly. Despite being dominated by young males, we find that the demographics of those who identify with some form of irreligion or who indicate they have no religion are (1) becoming more gender balanced and are (2) rising in age. However, we also find that atheists, agnostics, and humanists are not having children, meaning their current remarkable rate of growth will fall off in the near future. In contrast, ‘Nones’ are more fertile than the population at large. However, because more than a few Nones hold religious beliefs, it is difficult to predict how the growth of this portion of the population will impact the future growth of irreligion. We conclude that more empirical work needs to be carried out on the Nones.