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"For personal reasons, 29.4 million people said last year that they skip church, mosque, and synagogue—up from 14.3 million in 1990, a rise from 8 percent to 14 percent of the US population. That group is so large that if it were its own denomination, it would be the third-largest religion in the United States, behind Catholics (50.8 million) and Baptists (33.8 million).

"That's the word from the American Religious Identification Survey, conducted in 2001 among 50,281 U.S. households by the Graduate Center of City University of New York. Interviews for the survey, released last year, were done by ICR Survey Research Group in Media. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus 0.5 percent."

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