Poll: Seattle has 3 times as many atheists as the average American city

Poll: Seattle has 3 times as many atheists as the average American city

If you don’t believe in God, Seattle may be the city for you.

Ten percent of Seattle residents call themselves atheists – the highest rate among the largest metro areas in the U.S., according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

James Wellman, chair of the comparative religion department at the University of Washington, told KUOW’s Marcie Sillman that’s in part because people come here to find cultural freedom.

“When people come to the Northwest, they come across the Cascades and all their old affiliations just drop out the door,” Wellman said. “I think they find a bit of paradise – you can think what you want, you can do what you want, you can make of your life what you want. Old affiliations, especially family affiliations, aren’t around to bring you back into the fold.”

That doesn’t mean that Seattle is a godless city, Wellman said.

“I think what you have is the secular types who say, in a sense, to hell with organized religion,” he said. “But they turn to spirituality of some kind.

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