I’m still on furlough, but…

On Friday, I got an advance peek at the new American Religious Identification Survey.

I couldn’t resist writing up a few observations to post this morning.

So here we go:

The percentage of Catholics in New York State has fallen from 44% in 1990 to 37% in 2008. That should be a worrisome decline for the RC Church, I would think, although it’s probably not all that noticeable because the total number of Catholics keeps climbing.

The percentage of other Christians has also slipped (36% to 34%) and the percentage of other religions has also gone down (10% to 8%).

Where did everyone go? You guessed it. The percentage of “nones” — people who do not identify with a faith — doubled from 7% to 14%.

And the percentage of people who “don’t know” or “refused” to answer — probably not folks who belong to houses of worship — doubled from 3% to 6%.

All around the Northeast, the percentages of “nones” jumped between 1990 and 2008: in NJ, 6% to 15%; in Pennsylvania, 6% to 15%; in Massachusetts, 8% to 22%; in New Hampshire, 9% to 29%; in Connecticut, 6% to 14%.

And elsewhere: in Virginia, 7% to 15%; in Kentucky, 7% to 13%; in Texas, 5% to 12%; in Wyoming, 14% to 28%.

Nationally, the “nones” have grown from 8.2% in 1990 to 15% in 2008.

What’s going on here?

An introduction states: “The challenge to Christianity in the U.S. does not come from other religions but rather from a rejection of all forms of organized religion.”

Very interesting, no?

That’s it for now.

Back to furlough. (Don’t forget, editors, I wrote this Friday).

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.