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The Exchange

Understanding The Unaffiliated: One-Fifth Of Americans Don't Identify With Any Religion

Sam Rosenbaum

With the holiday season in full swing, many turn to their religion for traditions and spiritual meaning. But for a growing segment of Americans, there’s little interest in finding a house of worship.  We’re looking at the trend toward these so-called ‘nones,’  who include not only atheists and agnostics, but folks with a variety of beliefs.


  • Randall Balmerhistorian, author, and religion professor at Dartmouth College. He has written extensively about American religion and is also an Episcopal priest.
  • Michele Dillon - professor of sociology and department chair at UNH. She has written extensively about Catholicism and new religious trends.
  • Katherine Ozmentfreelance journalist and author of Boston Magazine article “Losing Our Religion,” about raising a family outside of any church. She is currently writing her first book, Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age.


  • A 2012 Pew report found that one-fifth of Americans don't identify with any religion, and a third of adults under 30 don't.

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