A plurality of Americans, 48 percent, believe that the growing number of nonreligious Americans is bad for American society, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.
Thirty-nine percent answered that the growing number of non-religious does not make a difference for American society and 11 percent said the trend is a good thing.
Those who belong to a religious group, those who attend religious services more often and older Americans were more likely to believe the growing number of nonreligious is bad, while the religiously unaffiliated, those who attend religious services less often and younger Americans, were more likely to believe the trend would not make a difference or is good for American society.
Pew has previously reported on the rise of the "nones." From 2007 to 2012 the religiously unaffiliated grew from 15 to 20 percent of the population.
Among those not affiliated with any religious group, 55 percent said the non-religious increase would not make a difference and about one in four, 24 percent, said it was good for America. One in five, 19 percent, of the unaffiliated believe that rising numbers of non-religious is bad for America.
White evangelical Protestants were those most likely, 78 percent, to believe the trend is bad for America, followed by black Protestants (64 percent), white Catholics (56 percent), white mainline Protestants (45 percent), and Hispanic Catholics (36 percent).
About two out of three, 69 percent, of those who attend religious services weekly believe the growth of non-religious Americans is a bad trend, a plurality of those who attend less often, 49 percent, believe the trend does not make a difference.
Older Americans were more likely than younger Americans to believe the trend is bad. Among those with a religious affiliation, 64 percent of ages 50 to 64 and 59 percent of those 65 and older said the trend is bad, while 47 percent of ages 18 to 29 and 52 percent of ages 30 to 49 agreed.
The survey of 4,006 adults was conducted March 21 to April 8. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.