Frequently Asked Questions


What is the U.S. Secular Survey?

The U.S. Secular Survey is the largest, most comprehensive survey of atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other nonreligious people to date. We had more than 35,000 non-religious people participate in this ambitious survey to assess the priorities, needs, and issues nonreligious people face in their daily lives.

The data collected through the U.S. Secular Survey will be used to benefit the entire secular movement by giving organizations the tools to better our advocacy, meet the needs of our communities, and seek the funding we need to fulfill our missions.

Although the U.S. Secular Survey is a project of American Atheists, many other secular organizations are participating by helping to spread awareness about the survey and encouraging their members to participate. 

Who can participate in the U.S. Secular Survey? 

Anyone who identifies as an atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinker, skeptics, as secular or nonreligious, or a similar identity and who resides in the United States was invited to take the U.S. Secular Survey.

This survey is not a membership survey for American Atheists or any other secular organization — instead, our goal was to spread this survey as widely as possible and to encourage nonreligious people of all identities to participate.

We thank the more than 35,000 people who participated in the Secular Survey!

Is the U.S. Secular Survey anonymous?

Yes! The survey does not capture any personal identifying information, and the data that is reported will be filtered to protect the anonymity of all participants. 

Why do we need this survey? What is the goal? 

Currently the lack of data about nonreligious people limits the ability of the secular movement to advocate for civil rights, to understand the challenges we face in our daily lives, to seek grant funding to benefit our communities, and to establish programs to meet community needs. 

For example, we currently lack the data to answer basic questions about our communities such as: 

  • How often are young nonreligious people rejected by their families? 

  • How many are openly nonreligious in their daily lives? 

  • Do nonreligious people face discrimination in the workplace? At school? 

Unlike other demographics based on race, gender, or sexual orientation, federal surveys do not capture data about our communities — so the goal of the U.S. Secular Survey is to gather this essential data ourselves! 

By understanding the priorities, needs, and issues nonreligious people face in their daily lives, secular movement will have the tools to better our advocacy, meet the needs of our communities, and seek the funding we need to fulfill our missions.

What is the timeline for the U.S. Secular Survey?

The field period for the U.S. Secular Survey began on October 15, 2019 and closed on November 1, 2019 with more than 35,000 responses.

What will you do with the data collected through the survey?

Researchers will review the data and publish a report with the findings in the Spring of 2020. After that, we intend to make the data available to researchers and organizational partners in order to benefit the secular movement and all nonreligious people.

Is this a scientific survey? 

Yes. The U.S. Secular Survey was created and managed by a team of researchers from Strength in Numbers Consulting Group. These researchers will analyze the survey results and produce a report, which we will publish and make widely available. 

Unlike some other surveys which collect demographic data about religion, such as the Pew Research Center and PRRI, the U.S. Secular Survey will focus on a deeper analysis of the lived experiences of nonreligious people. To meet these goals with the resources available, the U.S. Secular Survey will use a convenience sample rather than a population survey. 

How can I support the U.S. Secular Survey? 

As you can imagine, a data collection effort on this scale can be expensive! We appreciate any assistance you can provide. You can support the U.S. Secular Survey by making a tax-deductible gift.

Our original goal was to collect 5,000-10,000 responses. We closed the survey with more than 35,000 responses! This greatly exceeded our goals and also our budget. Please consider making a tax-deductible gift today to support the next steps of the U.S. Secular Survey.

Which organizations are participating in the U.S. Secular Survey?