The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 — are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.
However, many of the country’s 46 million unaffiliated adults are religious or spiritual in some way.Two-thirds of them say they believe in God (68%). Of that group, 30% say their belief in God is absolutely certain and 38% say they believe in God, but with less certainty. More than half say they often feel a deep connection with nature and the earth (58%), while more than a third classify themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious” (37%), and one-in-five (21%) say they pray every day.
The unaffiliated also are not uniformly hostile toward religious institutions. They are much more likely than the public overall to say that churches and other religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules, and too involved in politics. But at the same time, a majority of the religiously unaffiliated clearly think that religion can be a force for good in society, with three-quarters saying religious organizations bring people together and help strengthen community bonds (78%) and a similar number saying religious organizations play an important role in helping the poor and needy (77%).