Today we examine how the 2013 BRC population describes its religiosity and how that compares to the rest of the US population.
In 2013, 29% of Burners reported belonging to a religion. Interestingly, 8% of Burners claimed to be “religious” when we asked about spirituality (see the previous blog post). Clearly, many people do see themselves as belonging to a religion, but that religion doesn’t seem to impact or capture their spirituality. They might be more culturally religious.
Of that 29% belonging to a religion, 6% claim to be Jewish, 5% Catholic, 5% other Christian, 4% other, 3% Protestant, and 2% each for Buddhism, Pastafarianism, and Paganism. Of note is the much lower proportion of self-reported Christians, but a much higher proportion of Jews than that of the US population. Grouping the variations of “Christian” together, BRC comes to 13% while the US is at a whopping 78.4%, and 6% of Burners belong to Judaism while only 1.7% of the US population claims it as its present religion. Perhaps you can offer your guess as to why in the comments!
Then we consider how much religious service attendance is typical of Burners. 63% don’t attend services or attend less than once per year, 13% attend on holidays, 9% attend yearly, 6% attend monthly, 3% attend weekly, and 1% attend more than once per week.
Doing some more comparing with the US population, we see that 71% of the Burner population claims no religious affiliation (unaffiliated) while only 16.1% of the US population does, according to the Pew Forum‘s research. The BM census question was phased as: “Do you belong to a religion” and then gave options. The Pew Forum asked the US population “What is your present religion, if any? Are you Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox such as Greek or Russian Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, something else, or nothing in particular?” This difference in question phrasing could explain some of the difference in results between Burners and the US population, but probably not very much.
Religious unaffiliation has been increasing in the US, and BRC, with its 71% unaffiliated is currently at the level projected for the US in 2020. Perhaps we’re just a bit ahead of the curve on that shift? It may be explained by our younger-than-US-average age demographics, or perhaps our more foreign-to-the-USA or our more urban population. Some estimates of religious unaffiliation put Portland at 68.5%, San Francisco at 63%, Los Angeles at 49%, New York City at 45%, and Salt Lake City at 27%.
For more information on USA religion statistics, see the Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life / U.S. Religious Landscape Survey especially page 27.
Written by Steven “Indiana” Crane, edited by Eulophia