Atheists account for 4 percent of population in US says research outlet

(Reuters/Andrew Winning)Richard Dawkins is one of the most prominent writers looked up to by atheists from around the world.

There is an old joke that quotes the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche saying, "God is dead." The riposte, "Nietzsche is dead," – God.

Pew Research Center published revised data on Feb. 7 that atheists make up 4 percent of U.S. adults.

It cited the Pew 2023 National Public Opinion Reference Survey.

The new figures compare with 3 percent who described themselves as atheists in 2014 and 2 percent who did so in 2007 according to Pew

CBS News highlighted research on Jan. 24 in the headline, "More than 1 in 4 U.S. adults identify as religious 'nones,' new data shows."

Citing Pew Research CBS reported that according to the new set of data, 28 percent of Americans classify themselves as "nones," 17 percent of whom identify as atheist/

A further 20 percent identified as agnostic and 63 percent as "nothing in particular."

Most "nones" said they were raised to be religious, and the majority were raised in Christian households.

The Pew research found that in the U.S., atheists are mostly men and are relatively young.

The research was conducted in the summer of 2023, mid-year in the northern hemisphere.

More than 60 percent of U.S. atheists are men (64 percent).

And seven-in-ten are 49 years or younger, compared with about half of U.S. adults overall (52 percent).

Atheists also are more likely than the general public to be White or 77 percent of them and 49 percent have a college degree.

Around eight-in-ten atheists identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party.

Almost all U.S. atheists (98 percent) describe religion as not too or not at all important in their lives, according to the mid-year summer 2023 survey.

An identical share said that they seldom or never pray.

Still, 79 percent of American atheists say they feel a deep sense of wonder about the universe at least several times a year.

And 36 percent feel deep spiritual peace and well-being at least that often.

U.S. atheists and religiously affiliated Americans do find meaning in their lives in some of the same ways.

In a 2017 survey, Pew asked an open-ended question about this and like the majority of Americans, most atheists mentioned family as a source of meaning.

However, atheists, 26 percent of them, were far more likely than Christians (10 percent) to see their hobbies as meaningful or satisfying.

Atheists were also more likely than Americans overall to describe finances and money, creative pursuits, travel, and leisure activities as meaningful. Only very few atheists (4 percent) said they found life's meaning in spirituality.

Pew reported that western Europeans are more likely than Americans to identify as atheists.

Atheists make up a larger share of the population in many Western European countries than in the U.S., according to a survey in the first quarter of 2023 survey that included 10 European countries.

For example, 23 percent of French adults identify as atheists, as do 18 percent of adults in Sweden, 17 percent in the Netherlands and 12 percent in the United Kingdom.

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