On the receiving end: Discrimination toward the non-religious in the United States

Ryan T. Cragun, Barry Kosmin, Ariela Keysar, Joseph H. Hammer, Michael Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


The present study examines perceived discrimination faced by religious nones. After distinguishing between atheists, agnostics, and nones who are deists or theists, we use nationally representative data from the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) to study the contexts in which these various types of religious nones have reported experiencing discrimination. The strongest predictor of such discrimination was not theological atheism or agnosticism but self-identifying as an atheist or agnostic when asked what one's religion is. Context-specific predictors of discrimination are age, region of the country, rural versus urban location, parents religious identifications, educational attainment, ethnicity and race. Results are consistent with the view that people who hold more pronounced views are more likely to report discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-127
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy


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