A new report, American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population announces that 15% of the US populace selects "None" when asked about their religious preference. Based on the American Religious Identification Survey, authors Kosmin, Keysar, Cragun and Navarro-Rivera further analyze the ARIS data to uncover the demographic and social characteristics of this group, which has nearly doubled in its presence in the US over the past 18 years. Although they focus on social and demographic characteristics, the report is fascinating. Men are more likely to report "None" than are women, and the nature of their belief also differs, with more men reporting agnosticism and women more likely to report theism. "Nones" are similar to religious believers in terms of economics and several other characteristics. Politically, they are less likely to be republicans and more likely to be independents.
An unanswered question is what factors account for the increase in Nones during the 1990s. Nevertheless, the report is fascinating and deserves to be widely read.