ISSI Project Reports and Working Papers

ISSI Project Reports and Working Papers are published in the eScholarship Repository of the California Digital Library and may be downloaded here.

ISSI Affiliated Faculty Publications

"More Americans Have No Religious Preference: Key Finding From the 2012 General Social Survey"

Michael Hout (University of California, Berkeley); Claude S. Fischer (University of California, Berkeley); Mark A. Chaves, Duke University

7 March 2013

ABSTRACT: Twenty percent of American adults said in 2012 that they had no religious preference, according to the latest General Social Survey (GSS), a nationally representative survey of American adults. This continues a trend of Americans disavowing a specific religious affiliation that began in the 1950s but has accelerated greatly since 1990. The GSS has asked adults the following question for forty years: "What is your religious preference? Is it Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, some other religion, or no religion?" The percentage answering "no religion" was 18 percent two years earlier in 2010, 14 percent in 2000, and 8 percent in 1990. The upward trend in the "no religion" choice is very broad. While some types of Americans identify with an organized religion less than others, Americans in almost every demographic group increasingly claim "no religion" since the trend began to accelerate in 1990. Preferring no religion is not atheism which is still very rare; in 2012, just 3 percent of Americans said they did not believe in God. Comparing religious origins with current religion we find that while 20 percent of adults currently have no religious preference, only 8 percent were raised without one. The GSS is an especially important source, because it conducts 83 percent of its interviews in person and has an uncommonly high response rate of over 70 percent.

Download a copy of the report here.


ISSI Research Center Publications:

Steep: The Precipitous Rise of the Tea Party (University of California Press), edited by Lawrence Rosenthal (Exec. Dir. of ISSI's Center for Right-Wing Studies) and Christine Trost (Assoc. Dir. of ISSI) is now available from UC Press.

In the Spring of 2009, the Tea Party emerged onto the American political scene. In the wake of Obama's election, as commentators proclaimed the "death of conservatism," Tax Day rallies and Tea Party showdowns at congressional town hall meetings marked a new and unexpected chapter in American conservatism. Accessible to students and general readers,Steep: The Precipitous Rise of the Tea Party brings together leading scholars and experts on the American Right to examine a political movement that electrified American society. Topics addressed by the volume's contributors include the Tea Party's roots in earlier mass movements of the Right and in distinctive forms of American populism and conservatism, the significance of class, race and gender to the rise and successes of the Tea Party, the effect of the Tea Party on the Republican Party, the relationship between the Tea Party and the Religious Right, and the contradiction between the grass-roots nature of the Tea Party and the established political financing behind it. Throughout the volume, authors provide detailed and often surprising accounts of the movement's development at local and national levels. In an Epilogue, the Editors address the relationship between the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

To order a copy and/or read more about the book click here.


Children in Crisis: Ethnographic Studies in International Contexts

A new collection of ethnographic studies about "Children in Crisis" is now available from Routledge. Edited by Manata Hashemi (PhD, Sociology, UC Berkeley) and Martín Sánchez-Jankowski (Professor of Sociology, ISSI Director, and Chair of the Center for Ethnographic Research at UC Berkeley), the volume brings together ethnographers conducting research on chidren living in crisis situations in both developing and developed regions of the world. The volume offers a cross-cultural approach that spans different cities in the global North and South to provide insight and analyses into the lifeworlds of their young, at-risk inhabitants.  Read more about the book and/or order a copy here.