by Guy Page
According to a 2020 census study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI.org) released last week, Vermont’s two southernmost counties are also the least religious – so much so that they made the top 10 of the least religious counties in the country.
Religiously unaffiliated Americans make up 23% of the U.S. population as of 2020, PRRI said. Religiously unaffiliated Americans are spread throughout the country but are most concentrated in the West and the Northeast.
The 10 highest concentrations of religiously unaffiliated Americans in counties with greater than 10,000 residents are:
San Juan County, Washington (49%)
Multnomah County, Oregon (48%)
Glacier County, Montana (45%)
Humboldt County, California (45%)
Tompkins County, New York (45%)
Windham County, Vermont (45%)
Pitkin County, Colorado (45%)
Benton County, Oregon (44%)
Jefferson County, Washington (44%)
Bennington County, Vermont (44%).
Politically, that news bodes well for Democrats and independents. “Religiously unaffiliated Americans are primarily independents and Democrats: 16% identify as Republican, 35% identify as Democrat, and 46% identify as independent,” PRRI said. At present the only elected Republican in the Legislature from either county is Bennington Rep. Mary Morrissey.
PRRI also reports that the number of Americans who identify as White and Christian rose slightly in 2019-2020: “Over the last few decades, the proportion of the U.S. population that is white Christian has declined by nearly one-third. As recently as 1996, almost two-thirds of Americans (65%) identified as white and Christian. By 2006, that had declined to 54%, and by 2017 it was down to 43%. The proportion of white Christians hit a low point in 2018, at 42%, and rebounded slightly in 2019 and 2020, to 44%. That tick upward indicates the decline is slowing from its pace of losing roughly 11% per decade.”
Categories: Society & Culture