More Americans Identifying as Atheist

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The number of atheists in America is on the rise while those with more religious beliefs is declining, according to a new Gallup International poll.

Surveyors found that 5 percent of Americans say they don't believe in God, up from 1 percent when the study was last conducted in 2005.

At the same time, respondents who consider themselves "religious" dropped from 73 percent in 2005 to 60 percent in the latest study.

"For a very long time, religiosity has been a central characteristic of the American identity," said Ryan Cragun, a University of Tampa sociologist of religion. "But what this suggests is that is changing and people are feeling less inclined to identify as religious to comply with what it means to be a good person in the U.S."

The results are based on interviews with 50,000 people from 57 countries and five continents.

Participants were asked, "Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person, or a convinced atheist?"

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