Pew Study: More Atheists Now than Mormons

By Pete Winn | October 9, 2012 | 12:12 PM EDT

(Photo: Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints)

( - There are now more atheists than Mormons in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.

In a report issued Tuesday, Pew's poll on religious beliefs found that 2 percent of Americans identified themselves as Mormons in 2012 -- a percentage which has been unchanged since 2007.

But over the last five years, the percentage of atheists in the U.S. population has risen from 1.6 percent (in 2007) to 2.4 percent (today), according to Pew.

Agnostics – those who say they can’t know for sure that there is a God – went from 2.1 percent of the population in 2007 to 3.3 percent in 2012, an increase of 1.2 percent.

(Image courtesy of American Atheist)

According to the Pew report -- based on polling conducted by Princeton Survey Research and the National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago --  the number of Americans who do not identify with any particular religion, or say they have no religion, has grown to one-fifth of the U.S. population.

“In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15 percent to just under 20 percent of all U.S. adults,” the Pew report noted.

The poll found that, taken together, the 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics account for nearly 6 percent of the U.S. public.

However, Pew also noted that nearly 33 million people (14 percent of the population) say that they have no particular religious affiliation, but are not specifically atheists or agnostics.

Among U.S. adults, 73 percent identify as Christian – 48 percent are Protestants; 22 percent are Catholics, 2 percent are Mormons, 1 percent Orthodox, 6 percent are adherents of “Other” religions; 19.6 are “unaffiliated” and 13.9 percent say they are “nothing in particular.”