The growth of the nones

Two interesting polls came out in the past week, both documenting the growing strength of the non-religious in Canada and British Columbia.

The first data comes from the Association for Canadian Studies, and reports that a majority of Canadians do not feel that “religion is an important part of their lives.” Only 42% of those polled supported the statement. In BC, that number falls to 37%. Only Quebeckers see religion as less important at 33%.

Furthermore, they report that Canadians are more trusting of “people who are not religious” than those who are by a margin of 73-67%.

The poll also finds that 71% of women and 64% of men believe in God, suggesting that 1 in 3 Canadians are technically atheists or agnostics. Among those 18-24, that number rises to 44% – the highest I’ve yet seen it reported.

The second poll sheds some light on these numbers and comes from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. This poll looked specifically at immigration patterns of the 214-million people who moved countries.

Specifically, they found that despite alarmist projections, immigration to Canada by Muslims is quite below the global average, while immigration by Christians and the non-religious are significantly higher than average.

Douglas Todd, writing for the Vancouver Sun, suggests that the large number of non-religious immigration from East Asian countries to Metro Vancouver may account for our local swell of non-religious.

From these numbers alone, we can see that without even trying to win (de-)converts, the numbers of humanists, atheists, and non-religious will continue to rise solely by immigration and the coming generations.

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