Well, I’ve reviewed the U.S. and Canadian data and one thing stands out. Canadians feel less stigmatized and more comfortable letting others know they are atheists.
35% of Canadians who completed the survey felt no stigma related to being an atheist. Only 14% of their U.S. counterparts could say the same.
When asked how stigmatized they felt atheists are in their culture, 15% of Canadians said not at all, but only 2% of U.S. respondents could say the same. 49% of American respondents said atheists were very stigmatized, compared to 10% among Canadians.
Canadians were also less likely to feel that there would be any social impact to having people at their workplace find out about their atheism. 70% felt that there would be no impact at all, but only 45% of Americans agreed. In fact, 67% of Americans said there would be moderate to major negative impact if people in their workplace found out. Only 27% of Canadian respondents felt there would be such an impact.
The results were similar when we asked if they felt there would be any social impact if people from their local community found out they were atheists. 70% of Canadian atheists felt there would be no impact, compared to only 38% of American atheists. 59% of U.S. respondents felt there would be moderate to major social impact.
It’s little wonder that Canadian atheists feel more comfortable being open about their non-belief. When asked if they would feel comfortable telling people they were atheists at a social gathering (if the topic came up), 58% of Canadians said yes, while 40% of American atheists agreed. Maybe that just means American atheists are extra courageous for coming out in such a hostile environment.