Yet even as their numbers grow, researchers continue to find atheists a particularly unpopular lot.
Americans, pollster Gallup reports, would vote for a Catholic, a woman, a black, a Jew, a Mormon, a gay or lesbian person, an evangelical Christian or a Muslim -- in that order -- before they'd consider an atheist president. Only socialists ranked in less regard.
Sociologists and opinion researchers define an atheist as someone who doesn't believe in God. Yet even in anonymous telephone interviews, people are a third as likely to accept the label as to concede the belief (or lack thereof). Said one researcher: "They're hiding it."
A research group surveyed Americans in 2004 and again in 2014. The numbers remained virtually unchanged and declared a clear preference for the faithful over the irreligious.
A quarter of those surveyed thought atheists didn't share their values. More than a third said atheists held a different vision for the country. A third said they lacked a moral center. Nearly half don't want their children to marry an atheist.