Data from the American Religious Identification Survey (collected in 2008) reveals some interesting things about the population of Americans that do not identify with organized religions: atheists, agnostics, and the “spiritual but not religious.”  Most of the non-religious grew up with religious parents.  Only 17% report that neither of their parents identified with a religion:

Being non-religious does not correlate with income or education:

Instead, it’s strongest correlation is with gender.  Women are more likely than men to believe in God, more likely to convert to a faith if raised as a non-believer, and less likely to leave a faith they are raised in.

Younger people are also more likely to be non-religious:

Americans with Irish ancestry make up a significant percentage of the non-religious. They account for about 12% of Americans, but about 1/3rd of all non-religious:

More details at American Nones.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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