A University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist of religion has found a growing number of younger-generation working-class Americans are not affiliated with any particular religious denomination.
"When lower-class Americans aren't choosing to be evangelical, they're increasingly choosing to be nothing," said Philip Schwadel, associate professor of sociology.
His findings, published in the July edition of Social Science Research, could hold implications for the future role of conservative Christian groups in U.S. society and politics. Since the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980, evangelical Protestant groups have been significant players in the Republican Party.
Schwadel's study found those unaffiliated with a specific religion are no longer a small, elite social group with relatively high levels of education, income and occupational prestige.