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Missouri: Twice As Godless Since 1990

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Maybe Obama knew what he was doing when he gave a shout-out to non-believers during his inaugural address.

According to results from a national survey released last week, America has become significantly less religious since 1990, and the Show-Me state, despite having its share of Baptists, Born-Agains and Bible thumpers, is no exception.

The third American Religious Identification Survey, conducted by Trinity College in Connecticut, found that the percentage of Americans claiming no religion nearly doubled since 1990, with 15 percent of nearly 55,000 people surveyed saying they no longer believe in the man upstairs.

Missouri's rate of citizens claiming no religious affiliation grew from 7 percent in 1990 to 14 percent in 2008. 

The findings raise the question: Did the pollsters call anyone with a 636 area code?

Other statistics of note:
  • Illinois' non-religious rate increased from 8 to 13 percent from 1990 to 2008.
  • New England, who irreligious rate tripled since 1990, passed the West Coast as the least religious region, mostly because of the struggles of the Catholic Church.
  • Only 1.6 percent of Americans call themselves Atheist or Agnostic but nearly 12 percent are so, according to their stated beliefs.
  • The biggest gainer by denomination was Evangelical mega-churches--which increased from less than 200,000 in 1990 to 5 million in 2001 to over 8 million in 2008.
  • The number of Wiccans, Pagans and other "New Religions" also increased rapidly in the new millennium, the study found. Tom Cruise was unavailable for comment.
The Los Angeles Times has an interesting take on the study, along with a handy-dandy interactive map, so when you're planning your next Atheist convention, you'll know where to shop for hotel discounts. (Hint: Avoid Louisiana).

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