This is not a review piece. It’s not philosophical. I won’t speculate much on how we got here, nor will I talk about complex statistics or causal directions. I just want to introduce recent survey data—from November 2018—that provide a snapshot of what unreligious Americans think and do, with a few observations on how things have changed since 2015.
Let me offer a word about the survey. I call it the American Political and Social Behavior survey, which interviewed 5,285 Americans in November 2018, just days after the midterm election. The data collection was conducted by Ipsos, formerly Knowledge Networks (or KN), a research firm with a very strong record of generating high-quality data for academic projects. They maintain the KnowledgePanel®, a well-regarded survey pool which does not accept self-selected volunteers. As a result, it is a random, nationally representative sample of the American population, and it compares favorably with other large population-based data collection efforts. I asked a series of identical questions in early 2015 in an even larger sample from the same firm—hence the ability to discern trends.