A “Faith on the Hill” study of the newly sworn-in 113th Congress’s religious makeup reveals that the number of members with no religious affiliation is on the rise. Besides nearly doubling the number of religiously unaffiliated members from the 112th ( 6) to the 113th (10 members), the 113th also has among its ranks the first member ever to describe their religion as “none.”
The study, conducted by Pew in November 2012 and updated on January 2, 2013, compares the religious makeup of Congress over time. They also looked at how the numbers compare with the U.S. population:
Perhaps the greatest disparity, however, is between the percentage of U.S. adults and the percentage of members of Congress who do not identify with any particular religion. About one-in-five U.S. adults describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – a group sometimes collectively called the “nones.” But only one member of the new Congress, Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), is religiously unaffiliated, according to information gathered by CQ Roll Call. Sinema is the first member of Congress to publicly describe her religion as “none,” though 10 other members of the 113th Congress (about 2%) do not specify a religious affiliation, up from six members (about 1%) of the previous Congress.2 This is about the same as the percentage of U.S. adults in Pew Research Center surveys who say that they don’t know, or refuse to specify, their faith (about 2%).