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New Pew Research Finds U.S. Atheists Are Mostly Young, White Males


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New Pew Research Finds U.S. Atheists Are Mostly Young White Males

News Brief by Cassy Benefield | FāVS News

New statistics from the Pew Research Center show atheists are mostly male (64%), mostly under the age of 49 (seven-in-ten compared with about half the U.S. adults overall (52%)), more likely to be white (77% vs. 62%) and have a college degree (48% vs. 34%).

Current research also pointed out Western European countries have a higher population of atheists than America. The highest populations come from France (23%), Sweden (18%) and Netherlands (17%). This compares with the U.S. at 4%.


Pew found U.S. atheists and religiously-affiliated Americans find meaning in life in some of the same sources. Family stood at the top of the list. Still, atheists (26%) were more likely than Christians (10%) to describe their hobbies as meaningful. Other areas that were significant to atheists included finances, travel, creative pursuits and leisure activities. Only 4% found meaning in spirituality.

While atheists don’t ascribe to religious teaching, many of them remain well-informed about religion. In a Pew 2019 religious knowledge survey, on average U.S. adults got 14 out of 32 fact-based questions correct. Atheists answered about 18 of the questions correctly.

About a quarter of atheists (23%) say they do believe in a higher power of some kind, but less than 1% say they believe in a the Bible’s description of God.

Other facts include: 98% atheists say religion is not too or not at all important in their lives; most atheists express concerns about the role of religion in society; and most Americans (73%) don’t think belief in God is necessary to be a good and moral person.

Cassy Benefield
Cassy Benefield
Cassy (pronounced like Cassie but spelled with a 'y') Benefield is a wife and mother, a writer and photographer and a huge fan of non-fiction. She has traveled all her life, first as an Army brat. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer (2004-2006) to Romania where she mainly taught Conversational English. She received her bachelor’s in journalism from Cal Poly Technical University in San Luis Obispo, California. She finds much comfort in her Savior, Jesus Christ, and considers herself a religion nerd who is prone to buy more books, on nearly any topic, than she is ever able to read. She is the associate editor of FāVS.News.

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