Finally, atheists are no longer just old white men

The most important finding in Barna’s report is that women are joining the atheist community by the millions. In 1993, just 16% of nonbelievers were women, but in 2013, that number was 43% – representing a nearly threefold leap. And this shift isn’t because men are leaving the community, which would bring the gender balance closer to parity. Barna found that the absolute numbers of both male and female atheists have increased in the last twenty years, but the number of women has grown far faster.

The atheist community is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse as well. In 1993, people of color made up just 20% of nonbelievers. The change in these numbers hasn’t been as dramatic, but there’s been change nonetheless, with the number rising to 26% in 2013. Many of these religious skeptics have come from the Hispanic and, especially, Asian communities.

Rapid diversification of the secular community debunks the spurious claims by prominent white male atheists that the lack of diversity had biological reasons. The libertarian skeptic Michael Shermer said that atheism and skepticism are “more of a guy thing”, while Sam Harris infamously attributed the under-representation of women in the atheist community to its lack of an “estrogen vibe”.