This week, we read some fascinating news about changing religious demographics — and the decline of religious observance.

First, a new report from the Pew Research Center found that the number of Asian Americans who are religiously unaffiliated is up from 26% in 2012 to 32% in 2023.

While these numbers are in line with the broader trends we have seen over the last few years, many Asian Americans state that they still feel culturally connected to their traditions, even if they do not affiliate with a place of worship.

The majority of these new “Nones” appears to come from formerly Christian believers. Dheepa Sundaram, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Denver, suggests that the growth of Christian nationalist views may play a role in the increased numbers of Asian Americans who are leaving organized religion.

Sundaram, however, also reminds us that Western perceptions of religiosity don’t cleanly translate into Asian traditions and beliefs. And it’s a perfect reminder that our community should be welcoming to people from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Hemant Mehta goes into the details of the numbers and explores the implications of this trend.

Meanwhile, in Poland, surveys have found that the percentage of Catholics has fallen to a record low of 71%, down from 88% ten years ago. Notes from Poland reports that a series of child abuse scandals may be the cause for this significant drop. They also found that the number of so-called “Nones” has almost tripled in the last decade. A further 20% of respondents refused to answer the question, which signals a more skeptical view of religiosity in this traditionally Roman-Catholic country.

As with the Asian-American data, in Poland, too, it’s young people who are driving these changes. Their drop in religiosity, from 69% in 1992 to just 23% in 2021, is indicative of larger trends we have observed.

These data points give us hope that separation of church and state is becoming increasingly important to people, particularly younger people who see what happens when religion dominates politics.

These trends paint a picture that’s crystal clear: more and more people all across the world are abandoning religion in no small part because of the hypocrisy, the scandals, and the bigotry that has been exposed. People are realizing that they don’t need religion to lead a good, moral, and ethical life.

That’s why American Atheists is continuing to invest in our community groups and in telling the stories of atheists from all walks of life. We are here to help with resources and activism, and this work is possible because of supporters like you.

Please continue to prioritize church-state separation in your charitable giving. These new members of our community need us to be there for them.


Nick Fish

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