The 2018 GSS was just released and there's some big news. Those of "no religion" (23.1%) are statistically the same size as evangelicals (22.8%). There was also a small resurgence of mainline Protestants, while Catholics are down 3% in the last four years. pic.twitter.com/uiyDSe7M6f— Ryan Burge 📊 (@ryanburge) March 20, 2019
Ryan Burge at Religion News Service:
The 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study asked respondents if they had engaged in one of five activities: attended a local political meeting, put up a political yard sign, donated money to a candidate/campaign, volunteered for a political campaign or given blood.
Guess which group was the least likely to check any of those boxes?
The “nothing in particulars.”
According to the CCES 2018, nearly two-thirds of the “nothing in particulars” had participated in none of the five activities in the past 12 months. That was the highest of any of the groups in the survey.
Education, rather than religion, might play a role. It is possible that lower levels of education may account for lower levels of social capital and civic involvement.
However, at each level of education, the “nothing in particular” group is less likely to engage in activities than the American public at large.
In sum, we have a group that currently comprises 20% of all Americans, and is growing at an unbelievably rapid pace. This group has the lowest level of education of any religious group, and “nothing in particulars” are less likely to engage in political or social activity than the average American.
As a social scientist, I find this represents a troubling confluence of factors.
By all measures, “nothing in particulars” appear to be a growing segment of society that is “checked out.” They don’t obtain high levels of education, they don’t get involved in the political process and they don’t affiliate with a religious group. In addition, they are three times more likely to say their political partisanship is “other” as well. They are adrift in modern society, refusing to be labeled by a religious group or a political party.