Survey: God Disbelief Strongest on West Coast While an Atheistic Outlook Remains Stable Since 2000


In a recent survey, Gallup asked respondents whether they believed in God; believed in a universal spirit or higher power; or don't believe in either. Not surprisingly, "God disbelief" is highest among Americans living on the West coast with a strong proportion (29%) preferring instead belief in some general higher power, and 10% indicating an absence of belief in either God or a transcendental alternative.

Trends over time (below) show that belief in a traditional God has declined since 2000 (86% to 76%) with the shift towards a more general transcendental belief in some form of higher power (8% to 15%).

Despite a number of best-selling books on the topic over the past few years, an absence of belief--what might be an indicator of atheism or strong agnosticism--has remained stable and within the margin of error at roughly just 5% of Americans.


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Maybe we need some more Atheist Bake Sales? But seriously, so what...I can't control how stupid some people are, and learned a long time ago not to blame myself for gaps in the education of others.

Westside bitches! Ain't no jebus holding us down. Holla

Always fun to cherry-pick polling data to support your point of view, isn't it?

Here is an alternative poll from the Pew Research Center which asked slightly different questions:

Since 1999 "religious intensity" has decreased by 10% and the percentage of people saying "I never doubt the existence of God" has decreased by 8%.

Of course, neither study establishes any causal impact of the New Atheists books, but the skepticism you intimate about their impact reflects more about your own presuppositions than it does about data.

That is where I live! Probably not counting the illegal immigrants though- that tilts the survey somewhat. You'd think Utah would make the stats balance out though.

By Samuel Skinner (not verified) on 20 Aug 2008 #permalink

All in all, Portland is a mostly Atheist city, but go anywhere else in Oregon and you will find more strong evangelical brand religion than you'll find in most of NY State. In general, the "natives" are religious and the (mostly Californian) transplants are not.

I've lived in Oregon (transplant from NY) for the past three years. I lived in Eugene for two years, Corvallis for one year and am now moving to Portland. Eugene is a turbulent mix of natives and transplants, while Corvallis is semi-conservative and religious, and Portland has it's sects, but is a younger population with an independent streak... e.g.. A lot of Atheists or Agnostics.

By Parabola K (not verified) on 22 Aug 2008 #permalink