Brian Resnick in Vox:
Here’s a simple question: How many Americans don’t believe in God?
Pew and Gallup — two of the most reputable polling firms in America — both come to a similar figure. About 10 percent of Americans say they do not believe in God, and this figure has been slowly creeping up over the decades.
But maybe this isn’t the whole story. University of Kentucky psychologists Will Gervais and Maxine Najle have long suspected that a lot of atheists aren’t showing up in these polls. The reason: Even in our increasingly secular society, there’s still a lot of stigma around not believing in God. So when a stranger conducting a poll calls and asks the question, it may be uncomfortable for many to answer truthfully.
Gervais and Najle recently conducted a new analysis on the prevalence of atheists in America. And they conclude the number of people who do not believe in God may be even double that counted by these polling firms.
“There’s a lot of atheists in the closet,” Gervais says. “And … if they knew there are lots of people just like them out there, that could potentially promote more tolerance.”