Gallup: Fewer than half of Americans belong to a church or other house of worship
While Americans still believe in God, a growing number have dropped out of organized religion
(RNS) — Ask Americans if they believe in God and most will say yes. But a growing number have lost faith in organized religion.
For the first time since the late 1930s, fewer than half of Americans say they belong to a church, synagogue or mosque, according to a new report from Gallup.
Forty-seven percent of Americans now say they belong to a house of worship, down from 70% in the mid-1990s and 50% in 2019. The decline is part of a continued drop in membership over the past 20 years, according to Gallup data.
The polling giant has been measuring church membership since 1937 when nearly three-quarters of the population (73%) reported membership in a house of worship. For much of that time, membership remained at about 70% but began to decline after 1999. By the late 2000s, membership had dropped to about 62% and has continued to fall.
Pollsters at Gallup looked at survey data from more than 6,000 Americans and compared data from 2018 to 2020 with two other time frames: 2008 to 2020 and 1998 to 2000.
The decline in membership coincides with the rise of the so-called “Nones” — those who claim no religious affiliation. Gallup reports about one in five Americans (21%) is a None — making them as large a group as evangelicals or Catholics. Other polls put the number at closer to 30%.
Few Nones belong to a house of worship, Gallup found.
“As would be expected, Americans without a religious preference are highly unlikely to belong to a church, synagogue or mosque, although a small proportion — 4% in the 2018-2020 (survey) — say they do,” the report from Gallup states. “That figure is down from 10% between 1998 and 2000.”
Suggested Reading by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times, for the best understanding of personal religion in the 21st century
My main suggestion to the open minded readers is to read on and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.”